A question I get surprisingly often is about the value of a charismatic leader’s good press. So your Chairman of the Board (or other organizational leader) is out there doing good deeds and getting noticed. Although they may have little day-to-day involvement with the company, their coverage is still a good thing. How do you measure or set a value on how much their efforts reflect positively on your organizational image?

Although you may be tempted to use impressions, hits, or likes — don’t! No matter how big and beautiful (and easy to find) those numbers are, such vanity measures are very much against acceptable best practices. Plus, they don’t tell you what you really want to know.

Here are a few other ways to look at it that will provide you will more valuable answers:

  1. Net Promoter Score — The best way to calculate the actual impact would be to run a quick NPS-like survey of users or non-users of the company and see if they’ve seen anything about the founder or his projects, and then ask how likely they would be to recommend or use the service. You would compare those who haven’t seen anything to those who have and get the percentage difference. If they have an average revenue per user you could then calculate the potential value of the increased business.
  2. Desirable vs. undesirable coverage — One way is to compare the percentage of desirable vs. undesirable coverage of the company with/without mention of the leader’s efforts. I’m guessing there’s probably a significant lift in desirable coverage when the leader is mentioned.
  3. Compare him to the competition — Compare the share of desirable voice for your CEO to a peer in the same city or industry.  Or, if you’re in the middle of a crisis — look at the share of negative press — if your CEO is seen as a champion for good, chances are you’ve got more credibility in your “trust bank” than the other guys.
  4. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) — As it happens, I was just writing about a recent study of how CSR content affects stakeholder perceptions. It turns out that when people read a post that expresses trust commitment, satisfaction, or communal relationships, they are more likely to use the product or service and/or recommend it to others. That number varies depending on whether the organization is perceived to be ethical or non-ethical.
  5. Trust, commitment, and satisfaction —again — There are also lots of studies out there that demonstrate that higher levels of perceived trust, commitment, and satisfaction result in either higher revenue or lower costs of doing business. Higher revenue comes from shortened sales cycles, increased referrals, lower churn, higher renewals, etc. Lower costs are reflected in reduced legal bills, lower recruitment costs, lower turnover, etc. So field a survey and make some comparisons.

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