How to Make Your CEO Famous: Activating and Identifying Influencers Within Your Company

The methods marketers use to reach their key audience are continuously changing. With the rise in popularity of social and digital platforms, influencers have an increasingly significant impact on how people interact with brands, companies, or organizations. In fact, more than half (52.7%) of brands agree that influencers are vital to the success of social campaigns.

At our recent DC Communicators event, our panel of industry experts shared their experiences of utilizing their CEO or C-Suite executives to positively impact their brand or campaign and ultimately drive a return on investment.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing describes the relationship in which an organization uses influential people to share a story, message or mission. Rather than marketing to a large group of consumers, these influencers drive the brand’s message to a larger market. A misconception about influencer marketing is that the influencer has to be someone with a large social media following, confusing influence with popularity. Micro- and even nano-influencers can be incredibly effective, reaching and connecting with niche audiences.

As explored by our panelists, Heather Luca, Chief Communications Officer at Results for Development, Rob Bratskeir, Executive Vice President at 360pr, and Adam Paige, Director of Public Relations for Illy Coffee, many companies should look within and cultivate brand ambassadors or influencers from their own ranks.

Some questions to consider when identifying internal influencers are:

  • What: What problems or issues are your CEO or C-Suite executive prepared to address? What unique perspective do they have? What will we be asking influencers to do?
  • How: How will the program performance be evaluated? What are your key performance indicators?
  • Who: Who is the right person for the goal we’ve identified?

When you’re preparing to activate your company’s influencers, it’s important to note that not all influencer marketing happens online. Going beyond social media and utilizing speaking engagements, networking events, earned media or email marketing are examples of additional ways to build your brand and use your CEO or other executives to genuinely connect with people. Consider making things a bit easier by meeting your executive where he or she is by assisting with content creation, drafting social media captions and suggesting great opportunities to interject the mission into existing conversations.


In addition to having a clear direction on where to go with your influencer strategy, it’s important to know the type of influencer your C-Suite executive is. Is that person a:

  • Connector, someone who knows a lot of people across interests and is great at expanding their networks,
  • Maven, or an information broker, who solves people’s problems and distributes the information in a way that facilitates sharing, or
  • Persuader, a charismatic idea salesperson whose negotiation skills motivate followers to act?


With the right strategy and training, an executive colleague can be the influencer that will give your campaign or brand the exposure it needs. Authentic, informative and meaningful, executives speak with an authority that engages your target audience.

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About DC Communicators:

DC Communicators is a network of communications and marketing professionals in the Washington, DC, metro area who are interested in emerging trends in earned, paid and digital media. Founded by Mimi Carter in 2013, the group meets quarterly at the National Building Museum to network and discuss such trends. Topics for previous events have included fundraising for museums, content marketing, crisis communications, and best practices for social media and the law.



Rachel C. Hampton

Senior Account Executive
Rachel is New Jersey native who earned her B.A. in Journalism with a Broadcast News concentration from Howard University in Washington, D.C.  Whether behind the editor’s desk or with a strategic communications plan, you can find Rachel leveraging her skills in digital and earned media to promote the mission-driven work of her clients. She’s a self-proclaimed ‘foodie’ who in her free time enjoys relaxing with retail therapy (also known as shopping) and exploring all that D.C. has to offer.

About Proof Strategies

With 275+ awards for client work and industry leadership, the independently owned Proof family of companies (Proof Strategies, Inc., Proof, Inc., Proof Experiences, Inc.) has over 165 staff members in offices in Toronto, Montréal, Ottawa, Vancouver and Washington, D.C., and annual fee income of $30 million. As a brand steward to some of North America’s most respected and well-known companies, the firm’s strategic approach is guided by data-driven research, deep subject expertise, smart creative and meticulous measurement. A corporate leader in the age of climate change, Proof Strategies, Inc. has been carbon neutral since 2008.

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