How CEO’s Can Deliver Meaningful Messaging

Larry LightAugust 18, 202218302 min

In 1993, newly minted IBM CEO, Lou Gerstner, when asked about his vision for the company, replied that IBM was in a mess and he did not have the time now to indulge in vague forecasts. The press reacted poorly. Descriptions of Mr. Gerstner’s vision for IBM would be helpful for quarterly guidance. The press was not asking for a futuristic, vaguely mystifying, inspirational message. They were looking for visionary guidance to better understand where IBM wanted to go and how it planned to get there.

Analysts and observers want to hear a specific and meaningfully encouraging vision that serves as the corporation’s guiding star. Short-term goals are essential. But so is the future ambition.

Using SMART objectives as the basis for guidance provides a framework for delivering both. SMART Objectives mean objectives that are: Specific, Measurable, Aspirational yet achievable, Related to overall business growth, and Time-specific.

CEOs must optimize the short-term with the long-term. To offer meaningful messaging, CEOs must rely on SMART objectives.

  • Specific: Saying that the brand is doing X but not providing details frustrates listeners.
  • Measurable: Remember, especially today, all claims are verifiable.
  • Aspirational and achievable: Ensure that plans are possible dreams.
  • Related to overall business growth
  • Time-specific: for the short-term goals, Wall Street can be very impatient. For long-term goals, make the horizon just close enough so investors and analysts can see the brand there.

Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: Larry Light, Author of The Paradox Planet: Creating Brand Experiences For The Age Of I

The Blake Project Can Help You Communicate Unique Value In: The Corporate Storytelling Workshop

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Brand Education

FREE Publications And Resources For Marketers

Larry Light

Connect With Us


Branding Strategy Insider is published by The Blake Project, an independently owned, strategic brand consultancy with extensive experience helping businesses and brands gain an emotional advantage, a distinctive advantage and a connective advantage.

Subscribe and Grow

Choose how often you receive our insights.

© 2022 Branding Strategy Insider. All Rights Reserved.