Marketing Cooler: Take a tip from Branson and become Social CEO

2014-05-01T00:00:00Z 2014-05-01T09:31:21Z Marketing Cooler: Take a tip from Branson and become Social CEO By DANA PULIS The Billings Gazette
May 01, 2014 12:00 am  • 

The business of doing business is often overwhelming and causes business owners and leaders to spend our days dwelling on the minutiae of day-to-day operations instead of what is truly important: communicating with our customers and clients and our employees.

This is a mistake, according to Peter Aceto of ING Direct Canada.

“Successful leaders will no longer be measured just by stock price,” he said in a Forbes article. “Managing and communicating with shareholders, employees, government, community and customers will be the table stakes in the future.”

Aceto is often referred to as the “Social Media CEO” and takes pride in finding ways to use social media himself to reach out to existing and potential customers. In a post on his blog in January, he explains why:

“If you can engage customers and prospective customers in meaningful dialogue about their challenges, interests and concerns — if you genuinely get to know them, and if you are open and honest and clear about your purpose as a business, you can build a community of trust, loyalty, and possibly in time, ambassadors for your brand.” He goes on to write, “I encourage you to look beyond the ‘sale.’ Invest in strengthening relationships and building brand loyalty. What customers really want is to be appreciated, engaged, trusted and, of course, valued for their money.”

You may be thinking that it’s all fine and well that Aceto has a blog or is active on Twitter. Perhaps it’s because he’s a youngish CEO or maybe it’s just a Canadian thing. I assure you, however, that he is not wrong in his assertions — nor is he alone in his efforts.

In a 2012 survey conducted by BRANDfog, 82 percent of consumers reported they trusted a company more when its CEO and leadership team are active in social media. An IBM study conducted that same year reported that of the 1,700 CEOs from 64 countries surveyed, 70 percent planned to shift their focus from email as a primary communication to using social network as a new path for direct engagement.

Last year, Virgin Group founder and CEO Richard Branson was named as the world’s top social media CEO. He has more than 3.5 million Twitter followers and more than 2 million connections on LinkedIn and Google+ circles. His blog has a following of nearly half a million. His Jan. 2 post on life being too short to have enemies had garnered more than 11,000 social media shares the last time I looked.

If successful leaders of companies as large as ING and Virgin are placing emphasis on utilizing social media to share their personal and corporate messages, then it seems that most — if not all — of us should be taking a page out of their book. Failing to do so means failing to take advantage of a powerful marketing tool.

So tell me: Will you be making this the year you become a social CEO? Because I can assure you that I will.

Have questions about using social media to build your brand and better your marketing message? Contact me at

Dana Pulis is CEO/founder of Kinetic Marketing Group, www.Kineticmgcom. Contact her aat or (406) 651-2000.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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