From Transactional to Transformational Communication
In the ever-evolving landscape of corporate communications, staying ahead of the curve is essential. To gain invaluable insights into what it takes to build a high-performing global communications team, we turned to the experiences and wisdom of Chief Communications Officers (CCOs) representing four of the world's most admired companies -- UPS, IBM, GM and Cox Enterprises. In the narrative that follows, we delve into their findings, strategies, and the challenges they see on the horizon.
1. Transformation Amidst Uncertainty: In a landscape marked by the pandemic, social change, supply chain disruption, and economic uncertainty, these CCOs have responded with agility. They've shifted from being transactional cost centers to becoming indispensable partners to their organizations.
2. The "Big C, Little C" Model: At UPS, a new paradigm, known as "Destination One Voice," has emerged. This innovative approach places emphasis on Corporate Communications (Big C) to reduce noise and facilitate communication (Little C) led by senior leaders and front-line managers throughout the organization.
3. Storytelling for Emotional Connection: These leaders recognize that effective storytelling goes beyond presenting features and benefits. It's about forging emotional connections with their brands—a pivotal shift in the evolving landscape of corporate communication.
4. Navigating Employee Activism: The rise of employee activism presents a significant challenge. CCOs are now navigating uncharted territory, responding to employee demands for corporate positions on various issues.
5. Measuring Impact: Traditional metrics like share of voice no longer suffice. CCOs are embracing new measures such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) and return on invested capital to demonstrate the true value of their communications efforts.
6. Structural Evolution: Organizations are undergoing structural transformations, moving towards more agile, multidisciplinary, and insights-driven teams. While hierarchies persist, they are increasingly adopting overlapping, matrixed, and convergent models for greater efficiency and collaboration.
7. Talent Acquisition and Retention: Finding and retaining top talent is a common challenge. Strategies range from recruiting from select universities to upskilling and reskilling existing team members.
8. Authentic Leadership: In a world that has grown weary of corporate clichés, authenticity is key. As leaders, CCOs are learning to show up authentically, with both head and heart, as they lead their teams through an evolving landscape.
The Future of Corporate Communications:
The insights gathered from these best-in-class CCOs provide invaluable guidance for the future of corporate communications. To stay ahead of the curve:
- Challenge existing models and the status quo. - Embrace social media as a disruptive force for communication. - Develop new measurement models that align with organizational metrics. - Solve the talent dilemma by identifying, nurturing, and recruiting the right people. - Focus on developing the next generation of leaders.
In a world where the role of corporations is being reimagined, the CCOs with whom we spoke are at the forefront, shaping the future of global communications teams with their vision, innovation, and resilience.