Present of Work -

Big Data: the secret behind the most influential CEOs

Millions and millions of data are the secret weapon of the most influential leaders in the world, but how is all that information used to generate insights that serve CEOs and companies to refine their influence management strategies and plans based on metrics? We talked to the Founder of Horse about positioning a new leadership model and talent attraction.

October 5, 2022

A while ago we summoned Cristian Marchiaro, Founder of Horse, the data-driven strategy consultancy behind the positioning of the most influential CEOs in Latin America, to tell us what the secret is behind the most disruptive CEOs from Latam. Millions and millions of data are the secret weapons of the most influential leaders in the world, but how is all that information used to generate insights that help CEOs and companies refine their influence management strategies and plan based on metrics?

Currently, organizations process only 12% of the information they have, and only 1% is processed correctly. The data itself has no value if an accurate interpretation of that data is not made: an enormous bias can be generated and lead to erroneous conclusions that result in budgets invested in strategies that do not work. 

This methodology analyzes thousands of public sources through web scraping, machine learning, and natural language processing to generate real-time insights about companies, organizations, and references from multiple sectors. The goal is to help executives to raise their influence in a sector or to dominate the conversation about a topic. More than 20,000 daily newspaper articles are processed. That mountain of data becomes a divinely indexed catalog to interpret the competitive scenario, understand how a company or a CEO behaves and create insights that are then transformed into recommendations to design positioning strategies. How is the market behaving? What is my competition doing on this topic? What is my positioning strategy? Do your executives have a say on this issue? Are they members of the Chambers of Industry? Do you participate in the pertinent spaces? Are you active on social media? What is your activity level? 

“In the data, we find all these answers that allow us to have a lot of precision about how the market acts and from there design the strategy that best suits each company and each objective. And the objectives can be diverse: to position a CEO, to be referents of a sector or to be advocates of talent or digital transformation" explains Cristian. 

Today, the great challenge for companies is to generate real differentiation in very competitive and complex environments. How do you manage to be the bank, the automotive, or the technology company of reference when 10 companies do their job very well? The key is not in the information itself, but in the methodology: what trends to look at and how to interpret them. What makes a company or an executive influential depends on their actions in a series of dimensions that must be measured. 

#Influencia100 is the first ranking that measures the performance of companies and executives based on data and not on perceptions. Today, all the rankings that exist in Latam are based on opinion polls, on a survey made by a limited group of people under the ttop-of-mindlogic. The problem is that bias and that large company can no longer make decisions based on subjective perceptions. 

 “The key is to master several of the dimensions that we consider to be those that make up the influence. When the executive wants to be influential and position himself on a sector or as a national leader, he must somehow master a series of dimensions,” clarifies Marchiaro and details which ones:

‍1) Media: what coverage that person has, how much he appears in the media and what kind of treatment he is given, what topics he talks about, and what is his level of prominence. 

2) Social media: how is his performance on social networks, what level of activity he has, what is his audience, and what is his level of engagement?

3) Events: what is your participation in large business forums or in the spaces where specific topics are discussed and what is your role in the business chambers?

“The key to influence is not to be the best in one dimension but to be constant and consistent in all. It's no use being relevant in social media if you don't have visibility in the mass media, just as it's no use for an executive to have a spectacular year of hyperactivity and disappear the next year. Influence is always comparative, and it is very easy to lose it. Influence is built and there are ways to do it well. It is an exercise that requires mastery of all fields of action. A person who dominates social networks but does not participate in the chambers, which is where public policies and the country's future are discussed, can never be the most influential. According to our ranking methodology, there is nothing that gives more points for an executive than presiding over a sectoral chamber,” says Marchiaro.

Watch out! Triple Impact CEOs

Today we are facing a great paradigm shift in terms of the role that executives and CEOs have. ¡Congratulations! We are leaving behind a model that rewarded the executive for his low profile and his sobriety, to move to one that rewards high public exposure and not only on issues that concern his business but on issues that transcend his industry. Today the CEO of a carmaker is expected to not only talk about the new car model but about the energy transition and how to avoid the use of fossil fuels, as the head of an energy company is expected to talk about the environmental impact or a female CEO about female leadership.

The new leadership model demands a much more active role, a vocation towards society that goes beyond mere business issues.

  • In 2022, the activity of executives on LinkedIn increased by 300%.

  • Technology companies are the most influential and dethroned traditional industries such as banks. (If we think about it, most IT leaders are active in all three dimensions).

  • Influence is the ability that one has to influence specific audiences with a certain objective, whether it is to modify the law, sell a product, or generate disruption in a market because I need that to happen for my business to thrive. The influence is 100% linked to the business and the more influence the more business. 

CEOs & Social Media: A Troubled Romance 

There is a real trend that has to do with not only CEOs having an increasingly high profile but also becoming humanized. From that executive who was in a suit in his giant office on the 50th floor, we move on to the one who sits next to his collaborators and who implements the culture of the open office. Today, the leader must be close and social networks are a good means to do so. But is it good for a CEO to be showing his private life on IG? We already know the answer, but ours is based on opinions and not on data.

Those in the know recommend that executives start by mastering LinkedIn, a network with a more corporate spirit, more controlled, and where the risk margin is much lower. Although it does not have the same potential for influence as Twitter, which is a much more massive network, it does not require immediacy and does not force it to pronounce a lot of issues that concern people in general. Twitter demands planning and purpose, but it is a very interesting channel, unlike Instagram which they do not think is the right place for CEOs.  

Another phenomenon that introduced this paradigm shift is that today everyone talks about everything. Innovation used to be the exclusive territory of technology companies and sustainability was the private property of companies that had an environmental impact. Today, banks, fintech, automotive, and supermarkets are talking about digital transformation.

The big problem is that everyone does it in an unplanned way, they end up entering a giant mess, and the ability to differentiate themselves from the rest is very low. That's why many times those efforts lead to frustration.

"Today the competition for influence is huge because you no longer compete only with your direct rivals in the business, but against a whole universe of companies that, regardless of the industry to which they belong, want to be leaders in those same issues. Today we are no longer competing for the business but the influence on a certain issue," says Marchiaro who suggests that to differentiate, we must identify those pillars that make each company's business. Focus on one or two discursive axes, because most companies cannot position themselves and reference a diversity of axes.

Another important point is the territory of influence, that is, which are the most appropriate spaces and channels for that company or those executives to achieve a position. For example, if I want to be relevant in innovation, I must know which media are the ones that talk the most about innovation, which are the laws that give the most prominence to companies, which are the media where the most are written about the sector and which are the ones that receive guidelines from a competitor, which are the most related events where your CEO can position himself, which social network is the right one for the subject and what type of content generates the most interaction.

CEOs and leading executives also have a key role in the process of building the employer’s brand to attract talent and achieve a sense of belonging. The problem is that there is a very low differentiation, everyone does the same thing in a kind of herd effect.

Some companies started many years ago with a shy ping pong table in the offices and with home office Fridays. But it took a pandemic for the bulk of organizations to adopt, for example, remote work. “Most of what they tend to do is look at the leaders who dominate the value proposition area for talent and try to imitate them. The problem is that decision-makers linked to the employer brand have a perception bias due to the fact of being part of a sector or a specific area, and in general, they usually do things within what they know, they do not run the limits or think outside that box. That is why it is important to use data for this type of a decision, they are more representative and are not based on perceptions,” says Cristian and confirms that, once again, data has the crystal ball.

Currently, the attraction of talent is extremely complex and competitive. On one hand, there are competitors that, as a Free Market, were pioneers in adapting their value proposition to the demands of talent. And on the other hand, there are thousands of companies that face a lack of critical talent, which can be very concerning. And it all generates a lot of noise. 

“There is over information and, even worse, the value propositions are no different from each other. The big challenge has to do with identifying where there is an opportunity at the market level and what the company must propose to talent. We have to stop making decisions based on intuition and experience and start making informed decisions” says Cristian.  

The first change is cultural and few companies realized this. What has once been considered a trend is now a reality? When the pandemic began, issues such as new normality at work and virtuality began to be measured. Today there is no more talk of a new normal, it no longer exists as a concept. Today the debate is not so much about a new way of working, but about understanding that these are the new rules of the game and that companies have to deal with them. The hybrid model, on-demand contracting, or project work is no longer discussed anymore. The prevailing urgency is to adapt the structure, culture, and processes of each company to this reality. Today, the model and the constant that there is no model and there is no constant. No two cases are the same and that implies that companies must have the ability to adapt. 

Mirá más artículos similares

Suscribite a nuestro blog

¡Gracias por suscribirte!
¡Ups! Algo malo pasó mientras te suscribías, ¡intentalo nuevamente!