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.