Influence 100 Insights - Inspiration & Most Admired

Insights: Most Admired Communicators & Companies

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Best and worst communicators among world leaders

There was an unusually long list of nominees for best communicator among world leaders this year. Former US president Barack Obama was again among the most-named, but was this year pipped to the top spot by New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern, whose powerful response to the Christchurch shootings in March prompted one respondent to name her as “hands down the best communicator on the planet.”

Two other headline-making women – one battling racism, the other the climate emergency – made the best communicator list for the first time: US congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the most vocal of the group of four women of color who Donald Trump recently told to “go back” to the countries they came from, and 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, the youngest nominee ever to make our list.

Praise also went to Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, former US president Bill Clinton and Indian PM Narendra Modi. Pope Francis and French president Emmanuel Macron were missed off the best communicator list this year, with the Dalai Lama the only spiritual leader mentioned in either category.

The list of the worst communicators among the world’s leaders was much shorter. Former British prime minister Theresa May, who spent her final year as leader grappling unsuccessfully with Brexit, was mentioned several times on the best and worst list. And, unsurprisingly, US president Donald Trump again had repeated mentions as both the best and worst communicator, although it was the latter category in which he was overwhelmingly nominated. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un also returned to the worst communicators list, along with the Sultan of Brunei. 


Most influential marketing and communications professionals

The nominees for most influential professional again featured business leaders as well as marketing and communications heads, namely Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk (“Not from the fraternity but does this job fabulously”) and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Four of last year’s nominees were also on this year’s list: Unilever's chief marketing and communications officer Keith Weed, former WPP head Sir Martin Sorrell, Edelman CEO Richard Edelman, and P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard. 

Other nominees for best in the business were Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett, marketing guru Bonin Bough and Google VP global communications and public affairs Corey DuBrowa. There were more mentions of women than ever before this year: Disney CCO Zenia Mucha, APCO Worldwide founder and executive chairman Margery Kraus, GE chief marketing officer Linda Boff and Taco Bell global chief brand officer Marisa Thalberg.


Which company (other than your own) manages its reputation most effectively? 

2019-influence-100-reputation-management Asked to identify companies that managed brand communications and corporate reputation most effectively, the list of nominees showed partial continuity from past years, reinforcing the lasting effects of a well-managed reputation. Unilever, Starbucks, Apple, Microsoft and Google were again on the list, with new mentions including McDonald’s, Greggs, Mars, Ferrero, General Motors, Ikea, Patagonia, J&J, Nike, Delta, South West Airlines and LinkedIn.


Which public relations agency do you most admire/respect? 

Edelman was knocked off the top spot after six years of being the most frequently-cited public relations agency when respondents were asked which firm they most admired, with Weber Shandwick instead having the most mentions. Other consultancies with repeat mentions included APCO Worldwide.