THINKPIECE: Some titles are meaningless, but a C-level PR officer usually means a company really gets PR

Communicators want to work for a company that ’gets it.’ But what is this elusive quality? Does a certain configuration of attributes define ’getting it’ from a communications perspective?

Communicators want to work for a company that ’gets it.’ But what is this elusive quality? Does a certain configuration of attributes define ’getting it’ from a communications perspective?

Communicators want to work for a company that ’gets it.’ But what

is this elusive quality? Does a certain configuration of attributes

define ’getting it’ from a communications perspective?



Recruiters evaluate a job’s ’search appeal’ with four variables: company

profile, reporting relationship, location and compensation. But these

variables don’t seem to add up to getting it.



I think the title of a company’s top job might be one clue as to whether

or not a company gets it. We all know a rose by any other name smells

just as sweet - and impressive titles don’t necessarily mean impressive

jobs. But recently several companies - including The Coca-Cola Company -

have approached us to find chief communications officers. And this shift

seems to be more than just in title.



Market reaction has been interesting, to say the least. Choosing chief

communications officer as a title (over, say, SVP of corporate

communications) seemingly indicates that a company values the

communications leader as much as the CFO and other C-level officers. It

suggests that the assets of reputation and brand are as important as the

assets of revenue and profitability.



In our experience, companies looking for CCOs believe communications are

as vital as finance, information technology and operations. Respect and

resources back the role and make it real.



Every communicator knows why you can’t build a successful communications

program around something that isn’t real. Even the best strategy

eventually crumbles if not reinforced by well-defined business

objectives and ethical guidelines. Likewise, recruiters know the

pitfalls of trying to ’sell’ a job that isn’t what it claims to be.

Sure, we can sometimes get someone to the table by weaving a tapestry

that doesn’t resemble reality, but the victory is bound to be

short-lived, especially in communications, where people do their

homework and pay very close attention to what they see and hear both in

the marketplace and from prospective employers. If a candidate

independently learns significantly different information, we’ve forever

lost our credibility.



Coke’s CEO Doug Daft, in announcing the recent appointment of CCO

Charlie Holleran, said: ’We are determined to be open and responsive in

the way we communicate. Charlie will play a leading role in making that

happen as part of our senior management team.’ When a company says it

wants a CCO and backs it up with a seat at the table, that’s real. And

that’s a company that gets it.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in