With this phrase from Warren Buffet, I opened my talk at the III Business Marketing Forum organized by LIDE Argentina for CEO’s, Directors of Communications and CMO’s. To begin, I started with a hard data context: The credibility of CEOs in Argentina is 25%, compared to 37% internationally according to different pollsters. And a second argument is the economy of intangibles: in 1979, the percent of the market value of the S&P 500 gave intangible assets 17% of the value of the shares. In 2009, that number was 81%. Unfortunately, there are still C-Suite members who are unaware of this data when they want to carry out a business plan.
A low profile businessman implies that he appears little in the media and events. He is associated with hard and neat work.
A high profile executive implies a media businessman – one who is always seen and heard.
But the concept of “profile” is wrong. It is just a label. Rather, profile is a positioning that is built from certain values, attitudes, actions, attributes and personality. It is not something that can be turned on or off. What can be turned on or off is the visibility of the executive. It is more a matter of assets than of reputation.
Businessmen seek to own all the variables of their company: cash flow, corporate expenses, fixed assets. But not their own reputation. A businessman typically does not dedicate to himself the same effort, nor the talent, that he does to other aspects of running a business. When there is not a voluntarily built executive profile, any stakeholder can create it with subjective perceptions. And now they can do it much faster thanks to social networks.
How do you recreate the scene that is people crying over Steve Jobs’ headstone in 2011, mourning the death of a CEO? How was this myth created around the executive who had a direct impact on his brand? It was not by chance. It was years of effort, patience, strategies and experts in reputation doing one thing: polishing the apple. This is it.
What are you waiting for to build your reputation … and the reputation of your company?