Burson-Marsteller Most Valuable Platforms Study Reveals Lack Of Consistent Approach To And Alignment On Value Of Executive Visibility Platforms

NEW YORK, May 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Business leaders and their communications counselors are struggling to choose from the ever-growing number of executive visibility platforms and lack a strategic approach to prioritizing time and resources spent on visibility programs, according to a new study released today by Burson-Marsteller, a leading global strategic communications and public relations firm. Most respondents say they do not feel well-informed enough to take a strategic approach to executive visibility programs, and have difficulty measuring their executives’ return on participation (ROP) in such efforts.

The research revealed that the process for determining which executive visibility platforms to leverage is often ad-hoc and informal; on average, only one in four respondents say they “kind of understand” the options available. When making decisions about which platforms to pursue, more than half of respondents (58 percent) say they rely on word-of-mouth, especially if an executive mentions or recommends a particular event or platform. In seeking to prioritize and rank the most valuable platforms, many tied for the top spots, perhaps indicating that the sheer volume of options and lack of strategic approach has led to challenges in prioritization.


“We’ve seen tremendous growth in the number of platforms available to U.S. executives who want to raise their public profiles and establish themselves as thought leaders,” said Alan Sexton, Chair, U.S. Corporate and Financial Practice at Burson-Marsteller. “A more ‘target-rich’ environment means more opportunities for visibility than ever, but also a more complex and challenging landscape. Executives and their communications teams clearly recognize this, and see the need for a more sophisticated, strategic approach to executive visibility programs.”   

“Beyond getting into the top venues or using the most popular digital platforms, smart companies are aligning their thought leadership programs with their business strategies and priorities,” said Burson-Marsteller U.S. CEO Mike Fernandez. “When a strategic process is set from the earliest stages of evaluation and selection and linked to measurable outcomes, it can be a winning formula.”

The survey was conducted in partnership with research firm PSB and included a quantitative online survey of 300 vice presidents and above (“business decision-makers”) from large companies and mid-sized enterprises. Qualitative in-depth-interviews were also conducted to delve deeper into the quantitative findings.

Other key findings include:

  • Measurement is Ad-Hoc and Under-Resourced: Almost four in five of respondents say they want a more structured and systematic approach to determine ROP, but 40 percent feel they do not have the financial and human resources to do this. Respondents believe measuring success is as much art as science; what is important to one person or department may not be important to another.
  • Sales Leads are the Default Success Metric: In the absence of better and more relevant indicators, sales activity is the default metric currently used by 42 percent of business leaders to gauge the value of different platforms. Decision-makers and communicators recognize there are other, less tangible benefits, but need assistance to identify specific objectives and measures of success.
  • Most Valuable Platforms of the Future Differ from Today’s: Respondents see CEO summits and councils as important conferences and events today, but think technology, women’s and ideas-focused conferences are gaining importance. Corporate reputation, workplace and CEO awards and rankings are seen as important now; however, opportunities related to innovation, diversity and sustainability are expected to increase in importance in the coming years.
  • Increasing Focus on Digital Platforms and “Owned” Events: Moving forward, decision-makers want to be more active on digital platforms. Also, recognizing the opportunities in creating their own branded channels, many want to host their own events rather than participate in third-party conferences.
  • CEOs Have Markedly Different Priorities: When it comes to choosing platforms, CEOs are more concerned about visibility, thought leadership and connecting with multiple stakeholders, while other business decision-makers are more focused on clients or customers and new commercial opportunities. For example, CEOs (55 percent) are more likely than other decision-makers (35 percent) to think it is important to speak with the media when attending conferences and events. Importantly, CEOs also have different views on measuring ROP: CEOs value the impact it has on their reputation (42 percent) over sales generated (33 percent). Other decision-makers prioritize sales generated (35 percent) and number of new business leads generated (33 percent).

Most Valuable Platforms

Respondents were asked to select opportunities they view as important today and those they see as becoming more important in the next few years. Based on these perceptions, a ranking of the “Most Valuable Platforms” emerged, with many opportunities tied for the top spots.

Events and Conferences:

CURRENTLY IMPORTANT

GAINING IMPORTANCE

Rank

Platform

%

Platform

%

1

Bloomberg LIVE Events, hosted by Bloomberg

Consumer Electronics Show, hosted by Consumer Technology Association

42

Aspen Ideas Festival, hosted by The Atlantic and The Aspen Institute 

Bloomberg Technology Conference, hosted by Bloomberg

Milken Institute Global Conference, hosted by Milken Institute

Events hosted by YouTube

28

2

AWS re:Invent, hosted by Amazon 

CEO Council events, hosted by The Wall Street Journal

Microsoft CEO Summit, hosted by Microsoft

41

Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, hosted by Fortune

Events hosted by The New York Times

Women in the World Annual Conference, hosted by Women in the World and The New York Times

27

3

Forbes Global CEO Conference, hosted by Forbes

Events hosted by The New York Times

WSJ ECO:nomics, hosted by The Wall Street Journal

 

40

Brainstorm E, hosted by Fortune

Conference of the Parties (COP), hosted by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 

Corporate Conference, hosted by Council on Foreign Relations

Dreamforce, hosted by Salesforce

Events hosted by LinkedIn

Zeitgeist, hosted by Google

26

4

CEO Summit, hosted by Yale School of Management 

World Business Forum, hosted by World of Business Ideas

 

39

Annual Meeting at Davos, hosted by World Economic Forum

AWS reInvent, hosted by Amazon

Buttonwood, hosted by The Economist

CERAWeek, hosted by IHS Markit 

FT Innovate, hosted by The Financial Times

Events hosted by Politico

Sustainable Brands’ Annual Conference, hosted by Sustainable Brands

The Future Of: events, hosted by The Wall Street Journal (formerly known as Viewpoints Executive Breakfast Series)

TEDGlobal, hosted by TED

World Innovation Forum, hosted by World of Business Ideas

25

5

Annual Meeting at Davos, hosted by World Economic Forum

APEC CEO Summit, hosted by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

Forbes Healthcare Summit, hosted by Forbes 

WSJ D.Live, hosted by The Wall Street Journal

 

38

APEC CEO Summit, hosted by Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation

BSR Conference, hosted by Business for Social Responsibility

Forbes Healthcare Summit, hosted by Forbes

GreenBiz Annual Conference, hosted by GreenBiz

SXSW Conference, hosted by South By Southwest

Techonomy Annual Conference, hosted by Techonomy Media Inc.

World Retail Congress, hosted by Ascential

World Water Week, hosted by Stockholm International Water Institute

24

Awards & Rankings:

CURRENTLY IMPORTANT

GAINING IMPORTANCE

Rank

Platform

%

Platform

%

1

Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For

47

Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business

33

2

Forbes’ America’s Best Employers

Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies

44

Glassdoor’s Highest Rated CEOs

29

3

Forbes’ World’s Most Innovative Companies

42

DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity

Newsweek’s Top Green Companies in the World

26

4

Barron’s World’s Best CEOs

Barron’s World’s Most Respected Companies

Chief Executive Magazine’s CEO of the Year

Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Powerful Women

40

Fast Company’s World’s Most Innovative Companies

Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Powerful Women

Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work 

National Association for Female Executive’s Top Companies for Executive Women

25

5

Dow Jones Sustainability Indices

Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year

39

Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World

CR Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens

24

To learn more about the survey, visit Burson-Marsteller.com.

About the Research
Burson-Marsteller, in partnership with Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), interviewed business decision-makers about the value and challenges of various platforms – specifically conferences and events, corporate awards and rankings, and digital and social channels. Our research sought to identify which platforms are most relevant today, and which emerging platforms companies are gravitating toward to reach and influence stakeholders in the future. The research was both quantitative and qualitative, including an online survey of 300 vice presidents and above (“business decision-makers”) from large (10,000+ employees or $5 billion+ in revenue) and mid-sized enterprises (1,000 – 9,999 employees or $500 million$4.9 billion in revenue) and eight in-depth-interviews (IDIs) that delved deeper into the quantitative findings. The online survey was conducted between June 8 and June 17, 2016. The IDIs were conducted between October 14 and November 15, 2016.

About Burson-Marsteller
Burson-Marsteller, established in 1953, is a leading global strategic communications and public relations firm. It provides clients with strategic thinking and program execution across a full range of public relations, public affairs, reputation and crisis management, advertising and digital strategies. The firm’s seamless worldwide network consists of 77 offices and 85 affiliate offices, together operating in 110 countries across six continents. Burson-Marsteller is a part of Young & Rubicam Group, a subsidiary of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), the world’s leader in communications services. For more information, please visit www.burson-marsteller.com.

About Burson-Marsteller’s Corporate Positioning and Thought Leadership Offering
For more than 60 years, Burson-Marsteller has provided clients across a broad spectrum of industries and in every major world geography with expertise in defining – and realizing – their executive positioning goals. The firm’s Corporate Positioning and Thought Leadership offering is rooted in research, informed by experience, and focused on helping clients achieve sustainable results. Burson-Marsteller’s approach is customized to address the specific needs of each individual client, their business goals and executives’ visions, passions and ambitions. Burson-Marsteller positions clients where they need to be by developing the strategy and bespoke criteria to vet platforms, identifying where to put resources and how to measure the impact for positioning and thought leadership platforms, executive positioning and visibility efforts, and awards and rankings.  

About PSB
PSB a member of Young & Rubicam Group and the WPP Group, is a global research-based consultancy specializing in messaging and communications strategy for blue-chip corporate, political and entertainment clients. PSB’s operations include over 200 consultants and a sophisticated in-house market research infrastructure with the capability to conduct work in more than 90 countries. The company operates offices around the world, including in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, London, Hamburg, Madrid and Dubai, which are supported by in-house field capabilities and fully equipped to provide the complete creative solutions PSB clients need. For more information, please visit www.psbresearch.com.

About Palisades Media Ventures (a Burson-Marsteller affiliate and partner on corporate positioning and thought leadership)
Palisades Media Ventures (PMV) is an innovative media development company with a focus on public affairs, thought leadership and creating a new level of partnership between our clients and the world’s leading news and academic organizations. We specialize in co-developing events and content projects that support the thought leadership objectives of our clients and are important and relevant to our partners, and engage their large and distinctive audiences. We specialize in taking major public policy issues and framing innovative platforms that advance conversations among thought leaders, senior policy makers, and the public. Our media content projects resonate through events, newspaper articles, special sections, television programming and digital projects. For more information, please visit www.palisadesmv.com

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SOURCE Burson-Marsteller