Communication, and Chief Communications Officers, Rise in Importance

April 2023
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Chief communications officers are becoming more important for organizations, as executives lean on them to help navigate crises, align employees and promote and protect the business or brand. 

As Axios reports, there’s more than one path to becoming a CCO. Of Fortune 100 CCOs today, roughly 62% were promoted from within the organization. In addition, the new research from Axios shows that 43% started in the corporate world, 24% in politics and government, 17% in PR agencies and 8% in journalism. Three Fortune 100 companies — Berkshire Hathaway, Tesla and Enterprise Products — do not have a head of communications.

Communication is now arguably the most important skill for any leader, Axios CEO Jim VandeHei writes. To communicate well, leaders should have a professional communicator at their right hand, he says. 

VandeHei advises executives to hire people who are fluent in modern communications, meaning they understand that a message on Twitter has to be presented differently than one on Facebook, local media, national TV or YouTube. 

Chances are, VandeHei says, as an executive, “you talk and write too long, too fancily, too foggily. You need to be smarter, briefer, more real.”

Listening is essential for communications, he says. Doing so “allows you to communicate more transparently and more authentically because you know what words, phrases and ideas land with your audience — and which ones flop.” He suggests having “more conversations with more people at more levels — your own personal focus group.” — Greg Beaubien

Return to Current Issue Internal Comms | April 2023
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