Their time and patience is stretched to breaking point. Social media, especially Twitter, has smashed down the remaining barriers.
To survive, the media have stopped playing the game our way. We’ve lost control and it’s time to change.
There’s a mismatch between what we deliver and what the media expect. This causes frustration on both sides, often leading to negative press replacing no press at all. But there is an opportunity.
The media increasingly want, and expect, authentic senior voices that can cut through the noise and get straight to the point. CEOs are a company’s best, most valuable and yet most under-used media asset.
But we’ve acquiesced, agreed with CEOs, not pushed too hard and allowed them to sit in the background for too long.
In my experience, the list of CEOs' reasons for not going on Newsnight, BBC Question Time, or even just having a Twitter account or blog, can be staggering. And at the time, the reasons can seem incredibly plausible.
However, by refusing to be the face of their organisation or engage with the media directly, they are costing their company money.
CEO PR is more valuable to a business than all other traditional PR methods combined. It produces better ROI for the client than any other form of PR, and is cost-effective for the PR agency.
Whatever you think about the CEO, or they think about themselves, they are the people that really count to the media. No one else in an organisation can hold a candle to them when it comes to getting coverage.
These days authenticity is key.
You only need to look at the press and public reaction to political leaders. Journalists and presenters know a ‘line to take’ when they hear it, and the public can tell when an MP is giving the answer on their briefing sheet.
This absence of authenticity has led to a dearth of trust and a general weariness with over-rehearsed ideas and views. But the good news is that the client’s CEO is a real person with an authentic voice.
To the media, they can only ever be a valuable, repeatable, breath of fresh air. The media have changed and there’s no going back.
To continue to deliver measurable results, the CEO must be front and centre; right at the heart of the PR strategy and its implementation.
The odd speaking engagement no longer cuts it. Right now, the CEO is the key to the future.
Paul Blanchard is MD of ceo-pr.com