Emerging role of a chief communications officer
MANILA, Philippines—Companies these days, especially those publicly listed, demand the broadest range of capabilities from a CCO and the terms of engagement are evolving, to include more professional disciplines than ever before.
The big picture is that Public Relations, or PR, the core responsibility of the CCO is transforming into what is now—Integrated Communications.
From the basic functions of promoting and protecting the brand via marketing communications, the PR practitioner that crafts and directs the corporate communications program must be well-grounded not only in corporate/public affairs and media but also in stakeholder relations which include specialized fields like investor relations and advocacy communications.
At this Information Age, the role of communications is overwhelmingly critical to the success of any company or organization. The Internet, a technology that is likewise fast evolving, has empowered the ecosystem’s user—publics with unprecedented access to information. Add to this is the emergence of social networking sites making today’s communicators the most challenged profession—hard-pressed to influence behavior while skillfully interacting with all sorts of audiences comprised of customers, influencers, and opinion writers, at any given time.
Terms of engagement
An end game in integrated communications is to keep lines open through different disciplines and a variety of tools, to advance together, establish, and nurture relationships.
Corporate value propositions must be packaged and relayed as clearly as possible while the sensitivities, needs, and aspirations of various stakeholders or publics are appreciated and addressed.
Generally speaking, corporate policies must be consistently aligned with values and trustworthiness—for which stakeholders, in turn, must respect the company’s position. But fast-changing scenarios in a volatile world can upset the stability of relationships. These call for crisis communications and at times, to possibly avoid a crisis, a prerequisite work of drawing up a change management program is necessary.
Ultimately, and throughout the application of integrated communication principles, the CCO has to prioritize safeguarding the company’s reputational capital.
Summing it all up, the CCO’s emerging role is to harness all the modern means of communications at its disposal and as Tom Gable (San Diego-based PR counselor, Pulitzer-Prize nominee, IPREX president and one-time Chair of the Counselors Academy of PRSA) says, “to bring the reputation to LIFE for all their audiences, being prepared to ‘walk the talk’ over time, turning the name and brand into a valuable asset with everyone it touches.”
Each year, the Annual Excellence Awards for Communication Professionals is held at the World Communication Forum-Davos where outstanding communicators are recognized for their creative approach and innovative visions on the future of communications. The Communication for Future (C4F) Davos Awards is given to individuals with “huge influence on the improvement of communications and truly effective contribution in fostering new trends in the development of the communications industry worldwide.” By far, this is the most prestigious accolade that modern communication professionals can aspire for.
The author is the president and a three-term board member of the PRSP.
The Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) is the country’s premier organization for public relations professionals.
Join the 20th PR Congress on Sept. 27-28, 2013 in Boracay. For inquiries, call the PRSP Secretariat at 0917-5995072 or 6239479 or visit www.prcongress.ph.
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