Over the past year, Page has conducted research on the world’s leading CCOs and their organizations, through a combination of interviews and surveys. The findings: This is an existential moment for companies and their CEOs. Societal issues are an intensifying force. The weaponization of information, perception and advocacy.
- Aedhmar Hynes, Chair, Page
- Jon Iwata, Thought Leadership Chair of Page, former Senior Vice President, Chief Brand Officer, IBM Corporation
- Roger Bolton, President, Page
“I truly believe we are on the precipice of a completely new era. The CCO has never played a more critical role – leading on corporate purpose, and using data-driven systems to redefine the nature of PR. We must be prepared to meet the challenges. This is our future and the future of our profession.”
Over the past year, Page has conducted research on the world’s leading CCOs and their organizations, through a combination of interviews and surveys. The findings:
- This is an existential moment for companies and their CEOs.
- Societal issues are an intensifying force.
- The weaponization of information, perception and advocacy.
Factors influencing focus on societal issues:
- Millennials & Gen Z: They want to work for companies with purpose. Now they also want you to change the world for the better.
- Investors: The best way to create shareholder value is to create long term societal value.
CEOs are looking for help, but not necessarily from the CCO. Some of the emerging job titles include Chief Brand Safety Officer, Chief Customer Officer, Chief Experience Officer. These roles are designed with skill sets and perspectives that are functionally in line with CCO capabilities.
The CCO Imperative:
- Build Corporate Character: comprising corporate brand, corporate culture, and social value.
- Build Digital Engagement Teams: comprising CommTech, trusted content development, and shaping the digital future.
Three progressive stages were applied to each objective so that CCOs can identify where they are in the development of the function:
- Practitioner: Not a pejorative, signifies baseline of CCO’s responsibilities and activities.
- Professional: Adopting new standards, technologies, and metrics to meet each objective.
- Pacesetter: Leading new systems through active collaboration and accountability.
Build Corporate Character
“What makes you unique? How do we engage all the stakeholders who matter to us?” – Iwata
The Big Three:
- Brand: The distinct attributes and positioning that define the enterprise in the minds of its stakeholders.
- Culture: The pattern of collective behaviors and shared assumptions that influence the way an organization’s people interact with each other and with other stakeholders.
- Societal Value: Companies are being driven to create societal value in new ways, not just by customers, but increasingly by employees and investors.
Brand progression path:
“We don’t own product. We don’t own pricing. But we do own brand.” – Iwata
- Practitioner: Establish identity – who the company is and what it stands for. “It’s all about who we are.”
- Professional: Manage brand as a competitive differentiator. “The brand isn’t ‘what we want you to know.’ It’s about influencing your decisions.”
- Pacesetter: Consistent, authentic “on brand” experiences. “All of [a stakeholder’s] experiences of my company are ‘on brand.’”
Culture progression path:
- Practitioner: “Define and communicate desired culture.”
- Professional: “Enable culture by defining and instilling desired behaviors.”
- Pacesetter: “Use culture to change processes and operations, play offense.”
Societal Value progression path:
“Societal value is being driven by employees and investors not just demand from civil society. That’s what Blackrock and other investors are looking for.” – Bolton
- Practitioner: “Define/align across societal value creation.”
- Professional: “Affect how stakeholders interact with the company.”
- Pacesetter: “Measurably creating societal value informs brand and culture. To demonstrate this stuff is working: ‘We’re changing the world and we can prove it’.”
Build Digital Engagement Teams
Marketing has MarTech. Where is CommTech?
“One reason why we need to build this capability is this disturbing weaponization of information. It’s not just dealing with that scary future, but also asking ‘How do we use the techniques for our work’?”
CommTech progression path:
- Practitioner: Content is king. Listening yields insights.
- Professional: Campaigns that move stakeholders to action. “To do that requires many things – establishing a true ‘capital A’ Agile team. The KPIs are different – we’re measuring whether or not they are progressing along the journey by touchpoint.”
- Pacesetter: Optimize for performance and enterprise transformation. An example of CEO internal communications: “This is the difference between content publishing, and really looking at how many employees took action.”
In their own words:
“CEOs are thinking sometimes, ‘I have to create a new role to meet these challenges.’ For CCOs, this is a great opportunity; it’s time to step up.”
“Those doing the most leading-edge work around corporate character and transformation are playing a role in either leading or driving culture change.”