Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

When should CEOs blog? Ask Jeff Immelt of GE

Back to my pet peeve – CEOs who blog full-time; not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just believe there’s an enormous investment of time that goes into running a well maintained blog could rather be put to better use use in other areas of a CEO running a company successfully.

When should a CEO blog?

Example 1:

However, I also take every opportunity to recommend that CEOs must blog ever so often (whenever time permits) on their company’s corporate blog. This allows them to have an active voice out there and respond to questions whenever possible. One of my fondest memories of corporate blogging at LinkedIn was when our CEO Dan, responded to user questions on the NYT blog.

Example 2:

Another example of when a CEO could have blogged was Jeff Immelt’s (CEO of GE) reaction when GE missed its first quarter earnings target and he seemed to have been criticized by his illustrious predecessor – Jack Welch. Instead of disappearing from the media, Jeff granted an interview to the WSJ, where he seemed truly contrite and dissappointed with the results! Reminds me of Zuckerberg’s blog post where he apologized for Beacon – Facebook’s controversial ad targeting system. That’s the old-school vs. new school way of doing things.

So Immelt was accessible and he was human. Think of all the other CEOs who have been forced out in the past year or two—Hank McKinnell at Pfizer, Bob Nardelli at Home Depot and more. Those CEOs also were under fire for poor stock price performance, but they didn’t come out and address the criticism being directed against them. They’re gone from those positions. Jeff Immelt is still in his. I say, communications savvy was the key difference. (Source: Harvard Publishing)

It’s moments like these that a corporate blog can be used to let your CEO shine. It’ll be a tough call as to whether you should allow that but as Jeff Immelt’s media savviness proved – it’s definitely worth it!

Filed under: Business Blogging

7 Responses

  1. Justin Nga says:

    Mario, allow me to share an extract from blogger Shel Holtz (http://blog.holtz.com/):
    “I once met the CEO of a Fortune 100 company who told me that the acronym stands for the wrong thing; it SHOULD stand for “Customers, Employees, Owners.” He said his primary job was representing the organization to these audiences. If he was good at that, investment, sales, and employee engagement would follow. And, just to make sure I understood what he was saying, he added, “That means communicating with these three audiences is the most important part of my job,” finishing off by noting that he had people reporting to him to handle the day-to-day, tactical work. In this context, blogging is just another means of communicating to be applied when it suits the audience and the message better than other channels.”

    Source:
    http://www.globalprblogweek.com/2005/09/19/taylor-why-ceos-should-not-blog/#comment-36

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  2. Mario Sundar says:

    Hi Justin,

    I couldn’t agree more. However, having a dedicated channel with an insufficient amount of regular posting doesn’t serve anybody well.

    As I’ve mentioned, I’m all for CEOs blogging on their company’s corporate blog whenever the situation demands. Our CEO (LinkedIn), Dan, has blogged at blog.linkedin.com as well.

    Thanks for the comment.
    M

    Google “Mario Sundar”

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  3. […] 2. When should CEOs blog? Ask Jeff Immelt. […]

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  4. Thomas Busenbarrick says:

    I would like to know how a person can send an email or letter directly to Mr. Jeffery R. Immelt?
    Does he have an email address?

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  5. […] paper “Management 2.0: A Primer on Blogging for Executives” by David C. Wyld and Mario Sundar (Chief blogger at LinkedIn) gave me some insight to why CEO blogging can be […]

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  6. Linda says:

    First I’d like to express my disappointment about GE products. I have had GE answering machines and cordless phones. They stopped working in less than a year, whereas other brands (such as Sony, AT&T, etc.) would keep working for years. I currently have a GE cordless phone, I have to shake it or keeping clicking on and off many times to get it to work (the battery is good).

    On 02/11/09, I sent a brand new GE digital answering machine, Model #29871 to Thomson, Inc. in El Paso, TX for replacement. It did not take incoming messages, and it was a brand-new machine. I want to ask GE to not make cheap products that break or don’t work. Why would you want to do that to ruin your long established reputation? You have these cheap products made overseas, and the middlemen take away all your profits. By the time the end users, the consumers, buy them, they get a piece of junk or lemon.

    Believe me, I want GE to succeed, for I own GE stocks. This is the reason I’m writing to you to voice my disappointment in your products. At the same time, I want to encourage you to make better products to restore consumer confidence. You used to make good products, but not anymore. But you can shape up and rebuild, for your reputation and balance sheet are on the line.

    I’m waiting for Thomson, Inc. to return to me a good GE digital answering machine. It cost me $10 to mail it on the $20 product. But I did it for a principle. GE management probably figures that consumers would discard the piece of junk, for it would not be worth it to pay 50% of the cost of the product to ship it to Thomson, Inc. I recently ran into a couple of rip-off reports about Thomson, Inc. Thomson, Inc. did not return goods to consumers or attempt to contact them after having received their defective products. If this happens to me, I will have no choice but to turn to public agencies for help.

    Sincerely,

    Linda

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  7. […] diversion” for former Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz. Zing. Yes, there’s always the one off crisis management blog post that I believe a CEO can deliver with much impact, but regular blogging is […]

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