"Humility is now the new green among CEOs," is one of the key takeaways from Weber Shandwick's "CEO Reputation Premium: Gaining Advantage in the Engagement Era" survey released March 6.
The major finding: 81 percent of executives polled believe CEO engagement and visibility is particularly crucial to a company's reputation.
Back to humility, the Interpublic unit says CEO reputation isn't about stroking egos or celebrity. Rather, "it would be hard to count on one hand the names of today's celebrity CEOs."
WS speculates that the rise of humility among CEOs is "possibly because they've all experienced 15 minutes of shame in addition to 15 minutes of fame in this tell-all world."
The research finds while 22 percent of respondents consider their CEO humble, highly-regarded corporate chieftains are nearly six times as likely as poorly regarded CEOs to be considered humble by their executives by a 34 percent to six percent margin, respectively.
WS finds humble CEOs are considered good communicators, open/accessible and comfortable talking to reporters. They are twice as likely to participate in social media than their less humble counterparts.
The firm concludes that humility is "a desirable quality that is associated with a positive reputation and effective communications style. It is also a trait that the global media has tuned into, so consider it a part of the CEO reputation premium."
WS research shows that social media is not yet a big reputation driver. Executives rated social last (32 percent) among factors that influence corporate reputation.
Quality of products & services topped the list at 66 percent. It was followed by financial performance (57 percent), type of industry (50 percent), CEO reputation (49 percent) and marketing/communications efforts (49 percent).
Chris Perry, digital president of WS, believes social lags because it's viewed around the world as a fairly new reputation builder.
Perry, however, says social is "fast becoming a reputational asset."