I think the job of chief communications officer or vice president of corporate communications has gotten a lot more difficult over the past 10 years.
One of the biggest historical challenges has been that the communications officer often has three masters — the CFO, whose priority is to reach the investor audience; the HR executive, who needs internal communications support; and the CMO, who needs to reach customers, along with channel partners and others. In many cases, the communications officer ends up reporting to the CFO, and corporate reputation management and other activities take priority over leveraging PR to drive sales.
Also historically, the PR agency relationship typically reported to the CCO, and the advertising agency relationship to the CMO. So creating integrated PR and marketing programs where everyone was on the same page and had the same priorities could be a challenge.
Fast forward to today, and now we've got earned media, paid media, and owned media converging in ways that they never have in the past. Which means those traditional organizational structures are not only inefficient, but often flat-out broken.
Today's corporate marketing and communications leaders are better off organizing around audiences, not job functions. For example, I think companies are smart to formally separate brand PR (marketing-driven) from corporate PR (investor-driven).
Personally, I have a background managing investor relations, employee communications and the like, but at Idea Grove we don't offer all those things. Our PR efforts are specifically focused on supporting growth objectives for B2B technology companies.
- Scott Baradell