Chief Communications Officers are evolving and becoming more vital for organizations as technology creates a state of continuous transformation. Gone are the days when the Chief Communications Officer’s role was simply to generate attention and positive press coverage for the company.
In today’s contentious environment, one of the Chief Communications Officer’s roles is to promote and protect the brand’s reputation. Additionally, this role goes beyond external communication to include internal communications, helping to align employees with the company’s vision and goals. Communications is the most important skill for leaders and the Chief Communications Officer should be every executive leader’s right hand.
Actively Engaged In A Socially Dynamic Environment
With this continuous transformation comes rapid-paced disruption. Today’s professionals are tasked with creating relatable brands that connect with the customer while incorporating ever-changing technological advancements into their strategy. Thoughtful and careful strategy is required in today’s socially dynamic environment. Anything said can be taken out of context, misinterpreted, or misrepresented, causing harm to a business or brand’s reputation. The upside of social media is a limitless platform for spreading one’s message. The downside of social media is a limitless platform for spreading one’s message. A Chief Communications Officer is actively engaged in internal and external communications that engage employees, customers, investors, and the media.
Communications vs. Marketing
Traditionally, communications have been tacked on to public relations and marketing. All three systems contribute to brand and communication and marketing efforts are similar. However, communications led by marketing leadership can create conflict. While marketing drives the demand on a short-term basis, public relations is focused on the long-term and brand awareness. Communications, however, have the distinct role of serving as vital strategic counsel during crises or uncertainty. This is where the Chief Communications Officer comes in.
Marketing departments tend to act as a one size fits all fix for a one-time opportunity. Watching a competitor’s success with a campaign might lead the marketing department to forge ahead with a similar campaign, all the while letting communications fall by the wayside. Additionally, marketing departments experience high turnovers leaving team members left to work isolated in a bubble, resulting in low productivity and adverse for the brand. While marketing handles demand, non-demand tasks like internal messaging are in the communication leader’s wheelhouse. Unlike marketing, the Chief Communications Officer has the seniority and authority to make bold decisions that are independent of marketing buy-in.
An experienced Chief Communications Officer recognizes the importance of strategic communications within the brand. Internal messaging significantly impacts an organization’s public image. Every word is crucial and the wrong wording can damage a company’s reputation. Today’s communication professionals must juggle all sides of messaging. Unified leadership and collaboration are key. In addition, communications work with human relations on a shared goal of cultivating employees who are happy and heard. Another vital aspect to keep in mind is that marketing should not have access to pertinent human relations information prior to the issuance of an official internal messaging.
Key Player for C-Suite
The Chief Communications Officer is a key player for the C-suite. Communication is fundamental to the everyday operations of the brand. CEOs have come to rely on their Chief Communications Officer for strategic counsel on a number of important issues. It is part of the Chief Communications Officer’s role to brief the executives before important media interviews and before addressing staff at a meeting.
Developing a distinct communications strategy requires experience, excellence, and the wisdom of seniority. It is imperative that the Chief Communication Officer have access to all C-suite executives in order to do so. For a brand without a Chief Communications Officer, an outside public relations council is important. News travels at lightning speed and executives must come to the realization that a communications leader is vital and a position that must not be filled by anyone other than a professional.
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