On the second episode of the Fix, Sam Patchett and James Bird discuss the results of our polling research – which show how visible leaders can boost a business’s bottom line.
In this episode of The Fix by Profile, Sam Patchett and James Bird discuss our recent polling research, what being visible as a business leader entails, and the impact thought leadership can have on the success of a business.
Sam and James break down the results from our survey, which showed for the first time that consumers prefer buying products and services from companies with visible leadership teams. And that businesses with visible leaders garner a far higher level of trust.
Sam also explains what visible leadership in the business world looks, how it impacts stakeholder relations, and how to get real cut through.
James Bird (J): Hi, welcome to The Fix. I'm James, senior multimedia executive here at Profile, and I'm here with Sam, our client director.
Sam Patchett (S): Hi, James. Nice to be with you today.
J: So, today we're going to be talking about the results of some research we recently conducted. So, Sam, could you talk us through the consumer research we did?
S: Absolutely, James. So, we worked with a polling agency, OnePoll. We did a poll of 2000 British adults, and we asked them about the impact that visible leadership has on their buying habits.
The survey was done in the last few months and it showed that, for the first time, consumers prefer buying products and services from companies with visible leadership teams. And according to the research, specifically nearly seven in 10 respondents said they trust companies with visible leaders more than those without visible leaders. And 29% said that they trust companies with visible leaders much more.
And, one of the insights and results from this poll that kind of really stuck out to me, James, was that 77% of the over 65 group said that they trusted companies with visible leadership teams more, and that was a much higher chunk than younger age groups. So, I thought that was quite interesting.
So, yeah, I mean, I suppose the research is testament to the fact that the benefits of having a visible leadership team can manifest itself in all sorts of different ways.
J: Yeah, definitely. Thanks for that, Sam.
So, based on that research that we did, I mean, it's just so interesting that we've had those results. Can you tell us just a little bit more about what visible leadership actually looks like, in the real world?
S: Absolutely. I suppose if I were to crunch it down and really simplify it, being visible as a business leader comes down to just people knowing who you are and what you stand for. And the way you kind of build that is through a really strong digital profile, really rich online content — that could be multimedia content, it could be through media engagement and getting coverage in the press, could be on your social media channels. Kind of utilising all those online platforms to build out that digital profile and ensuring that people just know what you look like, what you sound like and what you stand for.
And, traditionally, CEOs and founders, and entrepreneurs and investors, they might kind of ask why they need to do it, you know? They might say "well if I sit at my desk and get through my to-do list and run the company day-to-day like I'm doing at the moment, why do I need to be out there making a big song and dance about it?" And it's not about making a big song and dance about it. It's about establishing credibility amongst your peers and your stakeholders, it's about attracting investors, it means that media will be more willing to talk to you.
But, as this research shows, it's also about consumers. And the research shows that there's really tangible commercial benefits, and it effectively boosts companies bottom lines when they have visible leaders, because people are more willing to buy from them.
J: Thanks for that, Sam. So, a final kind of talking point for us, before we wrap up: why is visible leadership so good for consumer trust?
S: I think, well, I mean, you've said it right there; it comes down to trust really. I mean, and consumers are more willing to buy products and pay for services from companies that they know and trust. Consumers’ relationship with their money and their spending habits, and what they're willing to spend their hard-earned money on, it's a very personal decision.
And, they want to understand a company, you know, at a human level. And, if they know and understand the business leader who's at the top of a certain company or organisation, they're more willing to trust it. And that doesn't necessarily mean it's a trade-off between building a brand for a company — it's also complimentary. I mean, if consumers trust and believe in the brand that they're buying off, and if they trust and recognise the individual that's behind that brand, then it's a potent mix, really.
And, I'd like to just, kind of, delve into how you build your profile in a way that does build trust with consumers. It's not about being too commercial or being too salesy, you don't even necessarily need to talk about your product or your brand — you've got a brand campaign that kind of does that for you. You're only going to become, you know, visible as a leader if you say something that's different or interesting.
You need to avoid paying lip service to keep, you know, the masses happy and steer away from, kind of, being too predictable, or too corporate, or overly commercial in what you're saying and what you're messaging is, because no one's really going to listen. Instead, you know, to become a visible leader, you should really, kind of, challenge yourself to raise some eyebrows and challenge some conventional wisdoms.
And again, that comes back to establishing that profile, building trust with consumers and ultimately, as we now know, that's also going to improve your bottom line.
Thank you, James.
J: Thanks, Sam, and thank you for listening. If you'd like to find out more about Profile and what we do, go to welcometoprofile.com.
Profile is an award-winning thought leadership agency. We create visible leaders. If you would like to discuss building the profile of your leadership team, book in a no-obligation strategy call.