This post appears courtesy of Weber Shandwick and KRC Research. The full study is available here.

Americans hold a more favorable opinion of CEOs who take public stances on controversial topics, according to “The Dawn of CEO Activism,” a study released by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research.

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Weber Shandwick has identified CEO activism as a factor that can “drive and differentiate corporate reputation.” Leaders taking a stance on hot-button issues is powerful. However, “The Dawn of CEO Activism” advises caution, stating that CEOs should be careful in choosing topics they speak out on.

The research, which can be found here, extracted five key tenets of CEO activism, illustrating the pros and cons of vocal corporate leadership.

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1) CEO Activism Has Support but Does Not Always Drive Favorability
2) CEO Activism Influences Purchase Intent
3) CEO Activism Tests Company Loyalty
4) Americans Are Unsure of the Motivations Behind CEO Activism
5) Millennials Are More Likely to Give a Thumbs Up to CEO Activism

Weber Shandwick and KRC cite 12 guiding principles for CEO Activists. These include looking in the mirror, finding partners to gather momentum, and developing thick skin, among others.

Learn about additional guiding principles and read the full study here:

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Hailey Reidy is an intern for the Institute for Public Relations.

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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