Brunswick’s Connected Leadership Defines New Expectations for CEOs | Brunswick Group
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Brunswick’s Connected Leadership Defines New Expectations for CEOs

There is a high expectation for CEOs to communicate on social media, but only half (48%) of S&P 500 and FTSE 350 CEOs have a social media presence.

A majority of CEOs at S&P 500 and FTSE 350 companies are effectively offline at a time when their customers, employees, and investors are very much online. These executives have an opportunity to update their leadership habits in an increasingly connected world. According to Brunswick’s Connected Leadership research, majorities of employees and financial readers in the U.S. and UK believe it important for business leaders to use social media to communicate, yet only half (48%) have a social media presence.

Connected Leadership is a new platform from Brunswick for understanding modern leadership in a connected world.

  • The inaugural Connected Leadership Survey measured the expectations of CEOs from 4,000 employees and 400 financial readers in the U.S. and UK.
  • The new, one-of-a-kind Connected Leadership Index documents the digital profiles of 790 CEOs in the S&P 500 and FTSE 350, an analysis built upon more than 100,000 data points. Elements of this index are publicly available as a reference for others to find inspiration and information.
  • The Top 100 Connected Leaders list showcases those CEOs who have found the greatest success across widely used digital platforms including social media, corporate websites, and Wikipedia.

“Leadership has been fundamentally redefined,” said Craig Mullaney, Partner, Brunswick Group, Washington, D.C. “A modern leader needs to influence, inspire, and inform people with direct, engaging, and authentic digital communications. The old playbook isn’t enough.”

While CEOs are expected to focus on financial and strategic issues, there is now an increasing expectation for direct communication with both the public and investors as the public face of the company. A majority of U.S. and UK employees believe that communication on social media from a CEO has a positive impact on the company’s overall effectiveness (66% U.S. and UK) and reputation (71% U.S., 72% UK).

“The Connected Leadership Survey confirms CEOs are missing a major opportunity by ignoring social media,” said Noah Kristula-Green, Associate with Brunswick Insight and director of the research. “The data shows that employees see value in their leaders communicating more transparently and that readers of the financial press will turn to social media to see how a CEO responds to a crisis or an emergency.”

LinkedIn is the most popular channel with 44% of CEOs active on the platform, but Brunswick found audiences are 3 times more engaged with leaders on Instagram than on Facebook or Twitter.

Other key findings from Brunswick’s Connected Leadership include:
  • By a ratio of more than two to one, employees say they would prefer to work for a CEO that uses digital and social media as part of their work.
  • The majority of respondents (60% U.S., 54% UK) would research a C­­EO’s social media activity when considering joining that company.
  • In the U.S., almost half of all employees (45%) and a majority of financial news readers (60%) Brunswick surveyed consider it very important for corporate leadership to communicate on social media when the company is in a crisis.
  • 62% of the Top 50 CEOs on social media are present on more than one platform.
  • At least one CEO is active on social media in every major industry, indicating that a CEO is setting the example across industries.
  • Among the Top 100 Connected Leaders, the sectors most represented are technology, healthcare, and industrial goods & services.
About Brunswick Group

Brunswick Group LLP is an advisory firm specializing in critical issues and stakeholder relations. Founded in 1987, Brunswick is an organically grown, private partnership with 23 offices around the world. Brunswick’s global Connected Leadership practice advises executives across industries wherever they are on their leadership journey. For more information, visit:


Morgan Gress Johnson, Account Director, Washington, DC

[email protected]