Spotlighted Blog of the Week

For communication directors, C-suites seeing value

A recent survey of around 150 major private and public companies found that a “confluence of technological, economic, and societal factors is rapidly elevating the influence of corporate communications within the world’s C-suites and boardrooms.”

“The findings produce a global portrait of the communications function’s growing strategic importance in creating value and improving business outcomes.”

The report outlines advice for today’s communicators:

  • Distinguishing substantive datapoints from “vanity” numbers in social media metrics. The easy availability of social media metrics has spurred a rapid increase in companies using such analytics to measure success. Companies need to avoid the temptation to confine themselves to easy-to-reach “vanity” metrics and instead look for data that directly translates to improved business outcomes.

  • Articulating clear social media policies. Such guidelines should be aligned with corporate goals to best position the company for success.

  • Center stage, in the strategic spotlight. Large public companies are putting their corporate communications functions into a stronger position to influence business strategy by ensuring more senior communicators are among key corporate decision-makers.

  • Future-facing communications. The ability to write clearly remains the most sought-after communications skill, but future-facing teams understand that it is necessary but not fully sufficient. Modern communications demands not only the ability to write longer reports and thought leadership pieces but also shorter, digestible pieces suitable for social and mobile consumption. Traditional writing skills, therefore, should be accompanied by abilities that can translate into visually appealing storytelling. However, the survey shows that such modern communications skills remain low on the ranking of what teams seek.

Other key highlights of the August report include:

  • Large organizations can take a cue from smaller companies, which have led the way on communications integration—48% of companies below $1bn in revenue now report having a fully integrated corporate marketing and communications function.

  • Organizations may need to augment their teams to keep pace with the competition—42.8% of companies grew the size of their corporate communications departments in the last fiscal year, compared to 32.1% reporting no change and 25.1% reporting reductions.

  • Manufacturers, in particular, can gain a leg-up by focusing on centralizing communications functions and strategies—just 28.9% of manufacturing companies currently describe their corporate communications as centralized, compared to 70.0% in financial service.

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Kenneth Wind