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London – 25th June 2013 – FTSE 350 companies with CEOs who employ the ‘Personal Touch’, a digitally connected leadership style, generate better commercial performance overall according to a new study commissioned by Sitecore, a leading web content management and customer experience management software company. The research reveals that just seven per cent of leaders are engaging with their stakeholders and consumers in a two-way dialogue using digital channels, dubbed as the ‘Personal Touch’, with the vast majority missing out on a wealth of tangible commercial gains.

The research indicates that ‘Personal Touch’ firms recorded a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 27% between 2009-12, increasing to 30% between 2010-12. This compares to a rate of just 9% between 2009-12 and 13% between 2010-12 from the next best performing group.

Additionally, trends in the turnover and profit growth since 2009/10 of ‘Personal Touch’ firms indicate that they are more likely to continue on a positive trajectory, and perform better than the wider market in the future. Firms employing the ‘Personal Touch’ also benefit from an increase in online traffic with half (50%) of ‘Personal Touch’ companies having around 150 authors writing about them on the internet, compared with 33% of corporate companies.

One-Way, Two-Way or Corporate?

The Sitecore study also reveals that nearly a fifth (17.6%) of leaders employ a one-way leadership approach, meaning they focus on broadcasting information via digital channels but failing to engage consumers in a two-way dialogue. Almost two thirds (63%) of the businesses researched adopt a ‘corporate’ approach to their digital communications, with a particular department within the company delivering PR and/or marketing activities, but with the absence of their leader. Shockingly, more than one in ten (12.6%) of the companies researched have no digital interaction or engagement with the public whatsoever.

The top eight performing firms in terms of their two-way engagement with consumers are:
o Tesco
o Burberry Group
o Carnival Plc
o Barclays
o BP
o JD Wetherspoon
o Dixons Retail
o easyJet Airline Company

The CEOs of Tesco, Burberry Group and Carnival Plc are also highlighted as ‘Super Personal Touch’ leaders who are personally active on more than one digital communication channel.

Shawn Cabral, Marketing Director Sitecore UK, comments: “There are clearly some very important lessons to be learned from the ‘Personal Touch’ research, and the growing adoption of this digitally connected leadership style. In the ever-changing digital landscape where the number of social media users is continuing to grow, the majority of CEOs are missing out on an opportunity to interact effectively with their consumers, and boost the commercial growth of their firm as a result.

“The ability to make the interactions between an organisation and its customers more relevant and engaging shouldn’t be the bastion of the forward thinking CEOs. The delivery of a ‘Personal Touch’ through all available digital channels, such as the web, mobile, social and email, is where the most significant gains can be made. Today, technology that enables CEOs, or organisations, to do this two-way interaction exists; what needs to change is the mind-set.”

To view more details about the ‘Personal Touch’ research including a full whitepaper and video, please visit: Sitecore.net/personaltouch

-Ends-

Media contacts:

Kirsty Taylor
sitecore@threepipe.co.uk
0207 632 4800

About the research:

1.1 Detailed method statement
This report summarises the findings generated from Part C of a wider research project conducted by independent economic research agency, TBR, to explore the ‘Personal Touch’ concept. To arrive at this stage the following steps were taken:

1. In order to explore the Personal Touch in leadership, the research took an approach which centred upon the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 350. The FTSE 350 is an index of the market capitalisation of the 350 largest businesses in the UK. Businesses were separated into business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B), and those across both sectors to identify companies which were most likely to benefit from leaders with the Personal Touch.

2. Data on B2C businesses and their CEOs (or Chair if none available) was then collected to gauge the amount of Personal Touch interaction, social media use, blogging, interaction and visibility they have on the internet. A full list of variables is available on request.

3. Data was gathered from various online resources to explore the extent to which leaders and companies were using the Personal Touch. Following the conclusion of the data capture, the extent to which businesses and their leaders use social media, have a visible presence and interact with followers (clients and stakeholders) enabled the list to be segmented.

4. The segmentation used a decision tree method to allocate CEOs/Companies to the different leadership categories identified. Access to the top or second categories requires CEOs using at least one personal platform.

5. This segmentation enabled headline messages from the research concerning the extent to which the Personal Touch is employed, the types of businesses employing it and associated trends with its use.

6. Following this an analysis of the performance of Personal Touch leader’s firms and any other data was explored.

About Sitecore:
Sitecore is the global leader in customer experience management software for delivering the marketing that matters most – highly relevant content and personalized digital experiences that delight customers, increase loyalty and drive revenue. With Sitecore’s fully unified, powerful, and easy-to-use software suite, marketers can focus on engaging customers instead of managing data – to deliver experiences that are relevant, immediate, and integrated across channels. More than 3000 of the world’s leading brands – including American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, easyJet, Heineken, LEGO, Microsoft, and Nestle – depend on Sitecore to help them deliver the meaningful interactions that win customers for life. For more information, visit www.sitecore.net

About TBR:
TBR is an independent economics consultancy providing research, information and advisory services to public and private sector clients. TBR specialises in business research in order to understand the structure and dynamics of the UK economy, sectors and locales built on analysis from the ground up. TBR focuses on ensuring clients have the evidence they require to make informed decisions, to formulate appropriate development options, strategies and plans and to monitor their impact.

Published on: 2:13PM on 26th June 2013