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The CEO as Brand: How to Lead in a Post-Covid World

For years, marketing has forged ahead with unbridled optimism — the big ideas, the influencer endorsements and the flashy activations. The most prominent CEOs had carefully crafted, larger-than-life public images.

Sure, the days of Jack Welch and Steve Jobs are long gone, but the last few months have brought about an abrupt and fundamental shift in the way we view brands and, consequently, what we expect from brand leaders.

SJR was built on the foundation that the CEO as a brand is the longtail of a company’s reputation. Now we’ve proven that long-held philosophy with quantifiable data. COVID-19 has upended our world, with no corner of life untouched. The pandemic has effectively created a macro-narrative — all industries around the globe are focused on the same thing at the same time. That’s where the CEO Leaderboard comes in. Our latest report takes the first objective look at a CEO’s actions in the opening weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Character is revealed in times of crisis; strengths and weaknesses are exposed and every move a company makes is accentuated. That’s why we felt there was no better time than now to assess the leadership and values of CEOs. We measured the actions of the 2019 Fortune 100 CEOs by tracking the real-time conversation across the digital and media landscapes, both before and after the pandemic became a national emergency.

What we found confirmed what we know, deep down, to be true about leadership in a time of unprecedented challenges: Those who fared the best on our rankings have handled this crisis with humility, empathy, and direct and repeated communications that connect with employees, customers and stakeholders on a human level.

So how did the top CEOs do during the first few weeks of the pandemic? Check out the CEO Leaderboard to find out.