Are we there yet? When it’s time to hire a CCO

Companies that reach a certain point in their evolution and are prepared to welcome communications to the C-suite are my kind of companies.

Naturally, I enjoy helping organizations at this stage identify and hire the right communications leader. It’s what we do. But possibly an even more important piece is that we provide a process that helps the executive team understand what they really need to ensure they are bringing in a strategic business leader with the right communications experience to help the organization achieve its goals.

I ran across this insightful article by the good folks at Dynamic Signal, and loved how they spelled out when a company does and doesn’t need a Chief Communications Officer (or an executive-level comms leader, if CCO is not a title that works for your organization).

It’s true that companies with CEOs or CMOs with strong communications skills can often manage well enough without investing in a dedicated leader for this function. Maybe all that’s needed is a mid-level PR person to handle the tactical work to communicate externally. Human Resources manages to get the internal/employee announcements out with no problem.

But when a company commits to moving from good to great, a game changer is bringing in a strategic communications executive to be part of the senior leadership team. Here’s why:

  • An integrated communications strategy is no longer optional for any organization. That means you are creating consistent messaging to internal and external audiences across multiple digital and traditional channels.
  • Creating an employer brand that attracts and retains the best talent requires more than just a good careers page on your website. When Communications strategically partners with HR to share why your organization is a great place to work, you will become an employer of choice for the talent you need.
  • When a communications leader has the access, authority and the ear of the chief executive, business problems are better solved because the communicator’s lens that can be applied to the discussion. This role is unique on the leadership team because comms leaders are trained to look at each situation from the perspective of every audience and how they will receive and take action on information.
  • Communicating and explaining change during growth is sometimes ignored — we tend to think about how to tell the bad news story. But in both good and difficult times, having a strategic approach to communicating change will mean your employees will feel engaged and invested in the ongoing success of your business.

If your company is on the fence about committing to elevating the communications function, talk to executives in organizations who have done it. Talk to executive- level communicators who can share how they’ve made a difference in their companies. And talk to us, we’d love to help.