Where Are Your CCOs?

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Nearly every executive surveyed agrees that communication is the most critical of all building blocks in business, yet very few are actually treating it that way.

 

Most organizations don’t have a CCO; as typically only the largest companies in the world do.

Unlike a typical “Head of Communications”, whose role is generally limited to Corporate Comms, PR, and sometimes Marketing Communications; a CCO could ensure that your business is truly capitalizing on the power of effective communications and that this most critical aspect of business is maximized and optimized across the entire organization and out into the world with customers and prospects.

Think about it: finance is critical and so you have a CFO with Experience, Mandate, and Budget in charge of maximizing and optimizing your company’s finances. Operations are critical, so you have a COO. Revenue is critical, hence your CRO.  The elements we consider most critical in our business get the focus, mandate and budget we think they deserve.

So what about communications? If Communication is truly as critical as we all say it is, then where is your CCO?

 

What is a Chief Communications Officer (CCO)?

A Chief Communications Officer is someone who:

  • Isn’t beholden to one particular area of the business, but instead, they optimize and maximize communications across the entire organization.
  • Has expertise across various areas of the business and can work with various internal stakeholders (i.e. HR, Sales, Marketing, Operations, etc) to maximize and optimize their programs for happier more connected employees and happier more engaged customers.
  •  For instance, a CCO knows that:
    • the contact centre is one of the most critical touchpoints for customer happiness and thus works with the COO and call center manager to keep abreast of the latest technologies to improve the customer experience while reducing costs and allowing human reps to have more quality conversations.
    • keeping employees happy has never been more difficult and thus works with HR to find and implement the best employee engagement software to keep employees connected, engaged, and productive.
    • just like people, systems must also communicate and thus ensures new software integrates with all the present and future technologies on their communications roadmap.
    • employees are more demanding than ever and thus helps HR better listen to the needs of the employees and helps to bring technologies that increase collaboration, smashes down silos, improves culture, and flattens the hierarchy. This lets everyone hear from and engage with even the most senior executives.
    • while email is a critical channel for driving sales, it relies on reaching the inbox which is increasingly difficult, and thus they work with the email manager to improve deliverability and conversion rates.
    • Simply posting on social and getting “likes” is not enough and they collaborate with the social media manager to implement brand-new technology that allows them to better listen to, engage, and even service customers at scale.

all hands in team huddle

Why Are CCOs so Crucial?

A CCO identifies and solves the gaps, challenges, and friction in communication with employees and customers. They have a solid budget to invest in the best technology and a mandate to improve the company’s most critical business metrics – CSat (Customer Satisfaction Score) and ESat (Employee Satisfaction Score).

After all, if your employees and customers aren’t happy, does anything else even matter?

Most CEOs simply don’t really appreciate how essential communication is. They may think they do, but their structure and budgets don’t lie.

What could be more critical than communication? Of course, vision and strategy are also very important. But if you can’t inspire your leadership team, have them fully resonate with your vision, and get them fully on board with you, how can you expect something as essential as vision and strategy to trickle down? It doesn’t.

It remains your vision and your strategy instead of theirs. It only becomes theirs through one thing – resonance.  And resonance only comes through communication.  The more effective the communication, the more effectively you achieve resonance with everyone on the same wavelength as you.

Consider this: Would you rather have 100% perfect vision and strategy but only 50% resonance with your employees, customers, and prospects; or 50% perfect vision and strategy but 100% resonance with your employees, customers, and prospects?

discussing CommTech

Is Communication Interconnected?

A CEO once told me: “Well, communication is just kind of woven through everything” as a kind of justification for not really needing to focus on it.

And he’s right.  And that’s the problem.

Imagine we say about finance, “We don’t really need a CFO because finance is just kind of woven through everything. Everyone is responsible for keeping the costs low, sales high, and making smart investments.”

That statement may be true, but there is rarely a large company that has finance, operations, or sales “woven through everything” and “owned by everyone” instead of a leader with specific expertise, mandate, and budget. So, why does it happen with something as essential as communication?

Communication is arguably the most critical component of business, and yet there’s by and large nobody in most organizations who’s focused on how to maximize and optimize it.  An experienced executive focused on driving up ESat and CSat scores by focusing on improving employee and customer experiences.

Hiring a CCO: An Important Investment for Businesses

When most leaders are asked about hiring a CCO, they say: “But we already have a head of communications!”

Yes, many organizations already have a head of communications, just like they already have a website, social media strategy and phone system. However, that doesn’t mean any of this is being fully maximized. Just ask your employees or customers, and they’ll tell you.

Typically, the “Head of Communications” or a “Communications Consultant” role isn’t responsible for communications across the organization. Instead, their mandate is generally limited to Corporate Communications and PR and sometimes includes social media and advertising. Of course, these are critical communication components, but this is not everything.

Businesses would benefit by expanding this role to include communication as a whole – just as you may find in only the largest companies.

2 people shaking hands

In the future, the head of communications will work to maximize and optimize communications for the entire organization. Someone who fully appreciates the true value of communication and its ability to create EVERYTHING.

As one CCO from the Korn Ferry Institute study said; the role is to “Anticipate risks and opportunities and get ahead of them. Deliver excellent communications that serve the needs of the business.”

Everything to Help You Create Resonance

If hiring a CCO is not currently feasible, bringing in a fractional CCO is a great alternative. These professionals work on a part-time or project-based contract, contributing to the overall business strategies and aligning them with the marketing, sales, and, HR operations. They help companies identify the biggest opportunities and create a strategy to help you capitalize on the power of communications to create happier more engaged employees and happier more engaged customers.

At Everything Communications we help companies quickly identify and solve the most significant gaps, frictions, and challenges in their communication to create the happiest employees and customers.

Contact our communications consultants to start creating everything today!