How to Meet Senior Managers’ Expectations for Corporate Communications

What are senior managers across the globe and across multiple industries concerned about these days? Reputation. So says a recent study conducted by Spencer Stuart and Weber Shandwick. Not surprising given the hit that many companies have taken over recent years in terms of their reputation, credibility and trust among consumers. So what are senior leaders’ expectations of the communications function according to the study?

  • 65% – improve corporate reputation
  • 60% – increase positive media coverage
  • 56% – increase support of brand reputation/marketing
  • 55% – expand social media capabilities
  • 46% – improve stakeholder relationships

Oh yes, and do all of this while reducing costs – 45%.

That may not be as challenging as it initially appears. But, success requires thinking differently about the function of corporate communications and taking a critical look at what you are currently doing with an eye toward doing something–perhaps many things–differently. As the saying go: “if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.”

It’s time for change in corporate communications (and marketing) land. It’s time to stop doing things that are clever, creative and trendy. It’s time to start doing things that can make a real impact. It’s time to stop thinking like a “communicator” and start thinking like a business person. That means:

  • Critically evaluating *all* of your marketing efforts, no matter how sacred or how many awards these efforts have generated.
  • Spending less time on receiving awards and more on generating–and demonstrating–real results through your marketing efforts.
  • Thinking critically about what you may be doing in social media and whether those efforts are really paying off.
  • Thinking critically aboutĀ how you’re accomplishing your work: spend less time protecting your turf and more time evaluating and proving your function’s merit to the organization.
  • Taking a much broader approach to how you consider your role in the organization–get out of your silo and learn to think about the big picture.
  • Considering the role you may play in being a catalyst to help improve your organization’s products and services–you can’t improve the reputation of something that leaves consumers cold.
  • Thinking strategically! Worry less about being “creative” and more about being effective. Don’t just do things to do things. Learn to focus on doing theĀ right things–the things that will make a real bottom-line contribution to your organization whatever its goals are.
  • Finally, spend some time building solid relationships with your CEO and other C-suite executives, if you haven’t already. Recognize that the CFO can be your greatest ally instead of your worst enemy.

What will you do this year to boost your organization’s — and your own — reputation?

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