A study titled ‘The Rising CCO’, which was released on January 24, 2008, identifies a strong correlation between a company’s corporate communications organisation and the company’s ranking on Fortune magazine’s ‘World’s Most Admired Companies’ list.
Specifically, the study finds that the professional background, communications priorities, and inter-organisational relationships of the executive who leads the company’s corporate communications department – commonly referred to as the Chief Communications Officer (CCO) – are all meaningful indicators of the ability of a corporate communications organisation to make a positive impact on a company’s reputation.
‘The Rising CCO’ compares responses from communications officers in the ‘World’s Most Admired Companies’ with those in ‘contender companies’. The 141 survey participants were top corporate communications executives from Fortune 500 companies in the US and Europe.
The survey, which was conducted by global executive search firm Spencer Stuart and global public relations firm Weber Shandwick with KRC Research, examines the changing role of today’s CCO.
“In a fast-paced and dynamic business environment, communications officers are increasingly seen as a business partner for the CEO and leadership team in the stewardship of a company’s reputation,” said George Jamison, Corporate Communications Practice Leader at Spencer Stuart.
“CCOs are expected to create value and mitigate risks for the corporation by developing innovative strategies to proactively communicate with a company’s myriad stakeholders,” he added.
“Our research identifies how the corporate communications function can be a critical force in driving a company’s reputation in good times and bad. With the right organisational structure and partnership at the top, the best CCOs can significantly contribute to building shareholder value and corporate reputation,” said Dr Leslie Gaines-Ross, Chief Reputation Strategist at Weber Shandwick, and leading corporate and CEO reputation expert.