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Do FTSE CEOs understand digital?

The internet and the plethora of digital channels it provides have transformed the way in which businesses are able to communicate with clients and prospects. With this in mind, there are no surprises that many businesses need to start rethinking the way they reach out to stakeholders if they are to seize the opportunities available to them by effectively utilising digital channels. The opportunity falls to the CEOs who head these companies to ensure they evolve to become digitally connected leaders, but many CEO do not currently understand the benefits that digital communication channels provide. CEOs need to evaluate the way they personally utilise social media platforms such as Twitter, blogs and YouTube, to set the tone and agenda for the business, and to maximise the potential that digital channels can offer across the organisation.

Imagine being in a car where the driver does not have a licence, it’s not a journey you’re likely to want to stay on board for, and the same could be said for business leaders who do not engage with digital channels leading a business that could benefit from them. The growing popularity of digital channels gives CEOs an invaluable opportunity to make the interactions between a business and its consumers more relevant and engaging, a prospect that was previously not so easily achievable.

Research by Sitecore reveals that CEOs who have adopted a two-way communication leadership style, known as the ‘Personal Touch’, achieve better commercial performance overall compared to leaders who opt for either a one-way or a corporate approach. In fact, the performance of Personal Touch firms since 2009/10 has exceeded all other firms in the FTSE 350. This is demonstrated by annual growth rates in turnover and compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in turnover and profit.

If business leaders engage in regular two-way communication with stakeholders, they can make a significant difference to companies looking to raise their organisation profile.  The general online profile of a business is boosted via a Personal Touch leadership style; online traffic and interest from customers and stakeholders increases with half (50%) of Personal Touch companies having more than 150 authors writing about them and creating a buzz online, compared with a third (33%) of corporate companies.

Having a CEO or business leader who interacts with consumers digitally is an essential start to successfully raising an organisation’s profile, but the real key to success lies in embracing the principles of it across the wider business. Every time a customer ‘touches’ the brand they should enjoy an experience that is as unique as they are, and that is designed to unlock their lifetime value.

Modern digital marketing systems can help with the delivery of the Personal Touch across all available digital channels such as the web, mobile, social media and email and bring the real off-line world together, ensuring every interaction someone has with your business enhances their experience. If the CEO understands digital and adopts a Personal Touch leadership style, the business will ultimately benefit – boosting commercial objectives and maintaining a strong and recognisable profile.


By Shawn Cabral, marketing director, Sitecore UK

To download the full Personal Touch study, please visit: