Communication leaders have manifold responsibilities, ranging from reputation management, to steering communication teams and counseling top managers in decision-making processes. Yet, research into the many new roles of CCOs has been lagging behind.
In this role, the Chief Communication Officer is legitimized by other organizational members to act as an official ambassador on behalf of the organization. Thus, the ambassador provides direction to turn strategic issues into action. The ambassador or ‘visionary’ is a popular concept which is commonly used in management research.
» I act as a visionary and convey the corporate strategy to key stakeholders to ensure our corporation’s legitimacy. Through my unique contact points with important customers, investors, or politicians, I detect trends in the external environment proactively and inform top management about critical issues. In change processes, I create vision, promote change, and lead the way as a strategic pioneer of new ideas. «
The communication executive is responsible for providing platforms and channels to articulate strategic management decisions internally and externally. By multiplying corporate strategy through communication measures, the CCO supports strategy implementation and execution. Multiplicators break down the strategy into clear and easily remembered messages.
» Every employee should know and understand corporate strategy. My role is to communicate our strategic goals by selecting the right channels and language when addressing our different stakeholders inside and outside the organization. For instance, I set up communication activities that accompany the launch of a new corporate strategy. This is done by internal communications that facilitate a dialogue between top management and employees, and by addressing general publics. «
The main tasks of this role include deriving a communication strategy and linking it to corporate strategy. The communication strategist must have a good understanding of the company’s strategy to be able to break it down into concrete communication targets.
» I define overarching communication goals that are aligned with our corporate strategy and mission statement. In other words, I carry entrepreneurial responsibility that communication targets contribute to the long-term success of the company, for instance a professional reputation management or a unique brand positioning. «
He/she implements specific communication measures that have been defined in an overall communication plan, and hence operates at a tactical level. Skills such as improvisation and editing are important aspects of the operational communicator repertoire.
» I support daily business operations by delivering professional communication. One of my main tasks is to produce communication materials, creating messages for internal and external communication, or maintaining social media platforms. Skills such as writing, editing, and working with media are indispensable in my function. «
The strategic manager has to manage the communication department effectively. He should be able to identify potentials for innovation for the department in order to support the long-term growth of the organization. For fulfilling managerial positions, communicators should know popular management tools and concepts. They need leadership competencies for steering communication staff and external agencies.
» I am responsible for the long-term success of the communication department and its future contribution to organizational performance. My responsibilities include creating development programs for the communication staff and improving the department’s competencies in digital communication. «
The operational manager focuses on routine tasks such as budgeting, staffing, controlling and analysis. Communication experts in this role must have competencies to manage resources and coordinate integrated messaging processes across shared, earned, owned and paid media.
» My task is to administer daily business processes, establish efficient routines, and implement top management decisions such as compliance guidelines. I evaluate the success of communication activities, interpret measurement data, and report to top management on the department’s goal achievement. In addition, I have regular meetings with my communication team to coordinate tasks and give feedback. «
In this role, the CCO draws the attention of top management to potential communicative risks, societal expectations and critical issues, and provides advice on strategic decisions. He is valued by internal partners for the ability to span corporate boundaries. The CCO has to be able to offer serious, frank, and even bold consultation to top management as well as to maintain a good relationship with key stakeholders.
» I see myself as a key policy and strategy advisor for future corporate development. Whenever our top management has to make strategic decisions affecting corporate legitimacy, I am asked to participate in strategy meetings. I consult based on my knowledge gained from monitoring key stakeholders. Our CEO frequently asks for my advice, even if there are no touchpoints with communication projects. «
One of the main tasks of the CCO and other communicators is to enable other employees to communicate professionally. This includes the orchestration of many different voices of the organization. Coaching and feedback skills are essential to enable employees and executives to improve their personal communicative competencies in a world of polyphonic messages.
» I coach top executives and other departments to communicate professionally. This includes presentation skills, rhetorical training or contingency plans. I also write speeches for our top management and offer personal media coaching. Insights from issues management and monitoring help me in this role. «