Carnival and Easyjet named ‘personal touch’ leaders

Carnival and easyJet have been ranked among eight top FTSE 350 companies with CEOs who employ technology in a ‘personal touch’ leadership style to deliver better commercial performance.

New research reveals that just 7% 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.

Of this seven per cent, almost half of so-called ‘personal touch’ leaders are from the travel and leisure sector – easyJet, Carnival and JD Wetherspoon – according to a study by web content management and customer experience management software company Sitecore.

The study shows that nearly a third (32%) of travel and leisure leaders in the FTSE 350 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.

Just over two in five (41%) of the travel and leisure businesses researched have corporate approaches to their digital communications, with a particular department within the company delivering PR and/or marketing activities, but with the absence of the leader.

“Shockingly, more than one in ten (14%) leaders in the travel and leisure sector has no digital interaction or engagement with the public whatsoever,” Sitecore said.

The research indicates that ‘personal touch’ firms recorded a compound annual growth rate 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.

The CEOs of Carnival, Tesco and Burberry Group are also highlighted as ‘super personal touch’ leaders who are personally active on more than one digital communication channel.

Sitecore UK marketing director Shawn Cabral said: “There are clearly some very important lessons to be learned from the ‘personal touch’ research, and growing adoption of this digitally connected leadership style, especially within the travel and leisure industry.

“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, maintain strong relationships 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.”

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