I believe that business leaders should have a media profile so that their customers and colleagues, current and future, can more easily identify and align with their ethos and, by default, that of the business. This is because, in the words of Simon Sinek, ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it’. It makes sense for business leaders to clearly articulate their drivers in a way that is accessible to everyone involved with the delivery of their professional aspirations.
This is not a vanity or ego exercise. By clearly expressing who you are, what you stand for and what’s important to you, you are making yourself both visible and accountable. ‘I can do this in the privacy of my own office’, I hear you say, ‘why do I need a public platform?’ A public profile gives you the opportunity to connect with people outside your existing network who share your values and beliefs. A wider community of people offering a richer, deeper source of ideas and know-how that can help you to achieve your goals.
And on the flip side, not only can a proactive public profile help you to develop a tribe of loyal advocates who support and pass on your message, it can create a first line of defence in times of crisis; people in the community that believe in you and are prepared to fight your corner.
Many of us are fearful of the media. We expect our comment or contribution to be inaccurate or manipulated – or worse, we may be made to look foolish. Occasionally, the media get it wrong but in the main, journalists are professionals and they want to get it right. Yet, perception is your reality and this can be hard to shift. But imagine you were telling a child something important and they misunderstood a couple of times. Would you take the time and effort to explain in more detail or would you refuse to engage with them? If your business vision is important; give it a platform from which it can be heard, understood and valued. Think of journalists neither as experts nor enemies but as curious, well-connected people with excellent storytelling skills – isn’t that an opportunity worth grasping?