Similarly to everyday relationships, whether they are relationships with family or friends, corporate relationships are built upon open and clear communication channels. An organization that has built strategic communication plans has built the foundation for strong and lasting relationships. Today, the ability to communicate has evolved extensively, and has provided new and useful channels for businesses to communicate with the public and company stakeholders. In the past, corporate communications was lumped into the same category as public relations; however, new networks, such as social media, have changed the communications game and created new lines forcing a comprehensive shift in the communications world. So what role does corporate communications play in this new multidimensional environment, and what are CEOs looking for in the future?
The Changing Role of Corporate Communications
According to Small Business, “Corporate communications departments play a key role in how investors, employees and the general public perceive a company. They often report directly to a company’s chief executive officer and serve as advisers in managing a company’s reputation.” The corporate communications department handles both internal and external communications. This way there is balance between the two worlds, and smooth networks can be established.
Over the years the role of corporate communications has shifted. In the past, one of the primary goals of communications was to gain coverage in as many places as possible. Although this is still true to some extent, the amount of coverage is no longer as important as the quality and the reach of the coverage. Who is the target audience and is the message reaching them? The public is overloaded with messages everyday. Rather than aiming blindly, communicators must find the most strategic routes for sending out their messages. Another change is the overwhelming importance of analytical data and measurement. Anyone can decide to make a few social media posts or throw up a few billboards; however, communication strategies must now more than ever be backed by data and analytics in order to truly understand the effectiveness of a campaign.
What skill sets are CEOs looking for from corporate communications today
As the role of corporate communications changes, so do the expectations CEOs have for their leaders. According to a study by egonzehnder, “CEOs don’t want ‘yes men’ as their Chief Communications Officers – they want individuals who can contradict them and sometimes say ‘no’.” Taking on the role of lead corporate communications means staying on top of the market, and the ability to challenge the CEO on issues that might have larger implications for the reputation of the company.
The field of corporate communications requires a high level of experience, and the ability to find solutions to problems that may not exist yet. According to Forbes, when surveying CEOs, the key to being successful was the ability to anticipate inevitable obstacles. Without the ability to plan ahead or anticipate potential problems, a business will quickly fall behind in it’s market. CEOs rely on communication officers to be their eyes and to look out for potential risks.
CEO’s are also looking for professionals that are up to date with emerging technologies. For example, the emergence of live streaming technology and new platforms for handling all the different message outlets.
Similarly, the ability to monitor, analyze and act on data is increasingly important. Data can give insights about a business, a listening ear about a brand, and can provide useful information. New tools, such as SophoTree, provide communications professionals with valuable market and media intelligence that can be quickly analyzed and shared, and could be the key advantage to a company’s success. Being adept at using and implementing the latest tech tools is becoming an essential part of the job.