How you interpret this question will define your answer.
Do CEO’s need to be celebrities to grow their businesses?
Do CEO’s need to be celebrities to make an impact in their industry?
Do CEO’s need to be celebrities to attract better talent to their companies?
Do CEO’s need to be celebrities to reduce attrition?
Do CEO’s need to be celebrities to increase recurring revenue?
You can insert virtually any business question at the tail end of the original question and potentially wind up with a different answer. When the marketing manager of TRN, David Coleman, first asked me this, my first thought was this:
If your company wants more of anything…the business’s CEO needs to be a celebrity.
Why? Here’s my take…
First, I think we have to define the word celebrity and its role in business. I posit the notion that a celebrity in business skillfully and courageously takes center stage as the champion of their cause and uses the necessary tools around them to own and promote their mission. It’s easy to look at CEO-personalities on social media like Gary Vaynerchuk, Richard Branson, or Gabby Bernstein and presume the channel plays in their favor—hence their exposure and gravitas. But in fact, these celebrity CEO’s and many like them have adapted their strategies to these channels and documented (not created) their journeys.
Celebrities are built on their authenticity for their passion. Great movie stars feel authentic when we watch them in their latest adrenaline-filled blockbuster. Rockstars feel authentic when their music and lyrics pull on our emotional strings. Great CEOs feel authentic when their most vulnerable selves are poured into their work and service the greater good. And that authenticity floods through our phone screens as we follow them on Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, and Facebook. We feel a deep connection to their passion and strive to emulate their actions. Fact is, they influence how we tackle life.
These platforms are most likely too big to start amassing tens of thousands of followers for the average CEO—and for some CEOs that is not the goal. For the average CEO, simply becoming a celebrity in your own business is enough. The authenticity and the passion for the business’s cause is why you attract and retain great talent. This is where it starts. As someone who’s never been a CEO—this is what I look for in a CEO and I’m 100% positive my friends all feel the same way. This is how and why we celebrate victories as a team and why we’re willing to own our mistakes when we make them. It’s because the CEO is great and the cause is greater—and we want to emulate their actions and keep the momentum going.
Why does all this matter? Because if you want more of anything in business, then you need to grow. Potential clients and your current client base want to work with businesses with a great culture and ones that deliver a superior product and service.
Business is people and great people follow great leaders.