NEW YORK: The Arthur W. Page Society unveiled what it described as a new model for corporate communications on Thursday, encouraging CCOs to build an overarching corporate character and then behave and communicate with stakeholders in accordance with it.
“The first thing it says is to make sure you have a strong corporate character, mission, and purpose that articulates the value you create for stakeholders and the public at large, as well as the mission and purpose embraced across your enterprise,” said Roger Bolton, president of the Page Society. “If you can use that character to build shared belief with stakeholders, that results in action.”
The framework also differs from earlier models in that it encourages communications professionals to spur behavior and advocacy from consumers via social media, which have drastically changed the communications landscape. “It is aimed at how an enterprise engages individuals, in addition to audiences, publics, or segments of populations,” the Page Society explained in a white paper on the framework. “Second, its goal is not merely to shape the opinion, sentiment, and perception of those individuals, but to spur them to action, continuing behavior, and advocacy.”
“There have been profound changes in the ways people interact with each other and it's changed the ways enterprises operate. The actions and the very existence of some institutions are subject to radical transparency,” Bolton added. “In one sense, nothing has changed, but in another, everything has changed. With more transparency and more ability to communicate, stakeholders can very quickly organize and have an impact on a business in a way that is very different than what has ever existed before.”
The framework also recommends CCOs embrace the role of “integrator,” working across business units to encourage departments to embrace corporate character. It also says they should design marcomms, operations, and management systems; understand data analytics; and work as publishers and developers to communicate with stakeholders. Corporate communications professionals should also act as “students of behavioral sciences” and “curators of corporate character.”
In addition, the Page Society recommends CCOs launch cross-C-suite initiatives to define their company's character, then assess whether the organization acts in a compliant manner. They should also partner with other company leaders to “address gaps and deepen strengths” and evaluate measurement and listening instruments.
The organization also noted in the white paper that social media and other new technologies present a clear opportunity for communicators.
“Communicators must move beyond mere awareness to build belief,” it said in the white paper. “Happily, in doing so, we no longer need to rely on intermediaries, such as journalists or industry analysts. We, too, have the full spectrum of paid, owned, and earned media at our disposal.”