Founder and CEO of JSA strategiesa strategic communications company that partners with consumer technology, digital media and gaming companies.
When it comes to the C-suite, the most underrated executive-level position is the Chief Communications Officer (CCO). As experienced communications professionals, CCOs are often sought in times of crisis or to amplify important business announcements. While their expertise spans these areas of communication, a CCO’s vision extends beyond that.
Industry leaders should not underestimate the guidance and competence of a Chief Communications Officer. Your CCO is in the C-suite for a reason; it is more than just a title and should be treated as such.
Have you measured the health of your business lately?
You have HR to measure the health of your staff, but your CCO cares about the health of your company’s reputation, both internally and externally. Your employees are the first line of defense for your business, and your CCO can ensure that department managers and team leaders have the training, tools, and tactics to be effective communicators. Clear communication from intern to CEO is the only way a company can continuously boost employee morale, achieve internal alignment and ensure that every voice is heard.
Unexpected events can put your business in an urgent communication challenge. These situations will put the health of your business to the test, and the danger of neglecting the role of communication can not only damage the health of your brand, but also affect the bottom line. An often quoted statistic is that poor communication companies with 100,000 employees average about € $62.4 million per year.
Despite the power to communicate both internally and externally, this type of work is an extremely vulnerable place for a leader. The CCO has the capabilities and knowledge to lead other executives when speaking with all levels of individuals. Working with your CCO requires trust and a shared vision of what the company is and what it will become. Once aligned on that foundation, your CCO can continue to feel empowered and work successfully with any other C-suite executive, no matter the situation. The health of your business – and your employees – will thank you.
As CEO you are too close.
As a CEO, you don’t see every external problem around business initiatives or ideas. As the mouthpiece and face of the company, it is important to place your thoughts in the context of the world. Your CCO is there to help you with that.
Executives who can use the power of communication are able to expertly share their thoughts while taking into account the climate and public interests. Your CCO is equipped to highlight the positive aspects of each initiative, align it with the bigger picture, and establish your brand as an industry leader.
Silence can damage your company’s image, but speaking up can put you in the firing line. Whatever is necessary and authentic to your brand, your CCO has the expertise needed to help the company and its spokespersons navigate difficult situations. In these times, you need to be able to rely on your communications managers to act quickly and consider all options for long-term success – while at the same time giving you the autonomy to create a true brand voice and forge a bond between your company and the public. .
Good preparation prevents poor performance.
Say that three times quickly.
Don’t let writing your apology be the first time you enlist the help of your CCO. With the eyes of the public on you, an invaluable expert should never stand still until the last minute. Although reactive working will unfortunately always be necessary, communication must be maintained continuously and vulnerabilities must be continuously mapped.
All companies, and the executives who represent them, have weaknesses. Honesty from executives and strong risk management from a capable communications professional can turn these vulnerabilities into fortitude, unlocking the full potential of the company and the leadership team. According to a study by the Korn Ferry Institute, 83% of CCOs “identified reputational threats/risks as the most critical challenge they face today.” Meanwhile, 67% of Fortune 500 companies said the most important attribute for CCOs is to “anticipate and anticipate future opportunities and translate them into groundbreaking strategies.”
It is clear that executives see the opportunities that arise when communication experts are deployed to the fullest – and communication professionals are well aware of the risks when they are not. “Good preparation prevents poor performance” is a simple expression to ensure success.
Now is the time to act.
In the future, companies will need solid communications management to stay afloat in today’s rapidly changing climate. They also need to find a way to seamlessly incorporate the brand voice into the right spaces for their identity.
Similarly, as activism and identity become more important than ever to both the public and employees, PR and communications have become increasingly essential functions for CEOs to rely on.
To compete today, companies must recognize that the CCO represents a company’s brand value, just as the CFO represents tax value. With the eyes of the public on you, you don’t have the luxury of reducing communications professionals to the B-team player of the C-suite. By using everyone’s strengths you can win together.