Historically speaking, boardrooms have favored business leaders with backgrounds in business strategy and finance. As the technological landscape has progressed, though, they’ve also been eager to embrace individuals with vast experience in cyber risk. Marketing and communications professionals, however, have remained on the perimeter of boardroom involvement. But as news and PR cycles continue to grow more powerful, invasive, and easily accessible online, it’s high time for boardrooms to embrace their media-savvy peers as vital corporate leaders.
Just ask United Airlines. In the wake of their current PR nightmare (which involved dragging a man off one of their flights), their CEO released a statement that came across as tone deaf to many readers. Not to mention, United Airlines stock has dropped $1.4 billion in the wake of this crisis. Combine this event with the recent confusion over two teens who weren’t allowed to fly wearing leggings, and you can bet that the United Airlines’ board isn’t having a very good couple of weeks.
Would having a board member with experience in marketing and communications have been able to prevent these tricky predicaments? While it’s not guaranteed, it is possible. When it comes to crafting policies to help avoid situations like this, a PR-experienced leader would have a vital perspective to lend to the group. In the aftermath of these confusing occurrences, it would also be practical to have someone in leadership who could help ensure that the organization’s responses are appropriate.
When it comes to understanding the value of a brand, marketers are highly skilled and trained. They are able to gauge when it’s suitable to take a smaller loss in order to avoid a very big one—as in the case of United’s removal of a passenger. Moreover, marketers can be extremely impactful during long-term, strategic planning as they appreciate what it takes to guide a brand towards high recognition and respect.
Does your board currently have a marketing and communications expert? If not, maybe it’s time to start considering whether their guidance could impact your organization for the better and potentially help prevent a lot of bad PR!