Comms champions: Focus on André Schwämmlein, CEO of Flixbus
CEOs are naturally authorities - they lead companies, after all. However, very few CEOs demonstrate authority over their communications.
And even fewer are wrapping that authority in a strong sense of purpose. The combination of authority and purpose is what builds reputation and creates advocates, followers and fans.
I like shining a light on those CEOs who are getting it right. Today's example is André Schwämmlein, co-founder and CEO of Flix, a German bus company that started in 2013 and has since spread to 40+ countries, while becoming the market leader in Europe.
What I appreciate about André's communication style
He is a strong collective travel advocate. Public or collective travel is the greener, more affordable option - and he seldom misses the opportunity to talk about it or advocate for it.
André loves travelling by bus, and his feed is full of selfies and posts of him traveling in different countries using Flixbus. In a recent post, he said that not only should every founder 'use and love' their product, but that it's a great way for him to get unfiltered feedback from customers. The Flixbus passengers don't know that the guy sitting next to them is the company CEO, and they tell him exactly what they do and do not like about the service. He's always looking for improvements, and by being a user himself is able to find these. By documenting his travels, André takes the reader along on the journey with him. It's is a complete communications and leadership win. Chapeau!
He has a big heart and takes a stand for society. Flixbus has increased its lines to and from Ukraine in the past year, as well as handed out free bus tickets for refugees and organized chartered buses for those fleeing the war. André says, 'We will keep supporting Ukraine, because we believe it is the right thing, and because we believe in connecting people worldwide - in freedom and in peace.'
André inspires other entrepreneurs and future generations of entrepreneurs by telling the story of Flix when it started 10 years ago (working out of a tiny office where their first investment was a printer) compared to today, with almost 300 million travellers using Flix services and a global revenue of over €1,5 billion in 2022.
He posts a lot of pictures of himself, with his cofounders, on buses, on world stages - often wearing Flix green. This gives a face to the business. People connect with people, not brands. And his tone is positive, forthright, friendly and humane.
Congratulations to André for being a CEO who communicates with courage.
If you like this post, please see the others in the series:
Early stage leaders who are acing their comms
Charlotte believes that in the attention economy, strategy and story need to be symbiotic.