Tech CEO Reputation and Impact: Top Takeaways from Shahar Silbershatz Interview

I had a great chat recently with Shahar Silbershatz, CEO of reputation management and analytics firm Calber. He joined the podcast to discuss the impact of executive brands on company reputation and business. That was the just the main course; the 30 minutes were crammed with useful info across a number of topics that should be of great interest to comms pros. We discussed:

  • Comparison of brand measurement methods.
  • The emergence of always on, real-time surveys and panels.
  • Connection between CEO and company reputation.
  • How to convert data into PR results.
  • The decline of the tech and CEO brands, and what to do about it.
  • How to be an effective and visible thought leader in today’s hyper-polarized, perilous world.

Shahar shared interesting case studies, especially around a PR campaign regarding Elon Musk and Tesla’s business performance that got covered in Reuters, CNN and others. I wrote about this more in my previous post. Spoiler alert: yes, the data seem to show a connection between Musk’s reputational issues and recent struggles of the EV manufacturer.

Here are some of the top quotes and takeaways from our chat:

  • X/Twitter’s reputation took a dive after Musk took over.
  • Most people surveyed coudn’t connect the tech CEOs with their respective companies. Musk and Zuckerberg were the exceptions.
  • Regarding highly visible CEOs, it used be more positive than today. Superstars like Richard Branson and Steve Jobs had halos that rubbed off on the companies.
  • Today it’s probably a liability to have a highly visible CEO… being visible often means pissing someone off.
  • The tech sector has its own problems; it used to be highly reputable compared with other industries, in terms of public opinion.
  • In most cases, CEOs had a lower TLS (trust and like score) than their companies; except for Uber and Alphabet.
  • There were certain leaders whose reputations were very negative, like Jeff Bezos – the real difference here is that the reputation of Amazon (unlike some of the other big techs) is stellar.
  • If you’re going to take a public stance or put yourself out there, you have to watch what you talk about and and make sure you don’t get into any controversy that’s connected to your company.

It’s a world where you have to be a lot more careful; but also pretty fast to react to what’s happening, rather than trying to keep a low profile. Because that’s also not a good strategy.

Shahar Silbershatz, Caliber

Some of his observations come from a study documented in a blog post on Caliber’s site: In Tech we Trust?

Thank you, Shahar, for joining and sharing your insight.

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