On 14 February in Frankfurt, VMAGROUP celebrated the launch of its most recent piece of research “Beyond communications: a CEO perspective of reputation leadership”. Hosted by AccorHotels in the company’s newly opened hotel, Sofitel Opera, the evening saw 55 communicators come together to discuss the findings. The event was framed by presentations and panel discussions around the content of the report.
VMAGROUP was joined by representatives from Microsoft, Siemens, GE, TUI, Airbus and MasterCard, amongst others. The evening saw a vigorous and interactive discussion around what the new profile for communications leaders is, now that the CCO role is driven by demands and needs of the company board.
One panel member, Prof. Dr. Christopher Storck, MD, Hering Schuppener, commented on the drive for strategic business advisers, stating, “the stakeholder approach to strategic management opens a door for communication executives who want to become an integral part of corporate leadership. To walk through this door and achieve an upgrade from support to strategic function, requires an update of what a CCO brings to the board room. Enhanced managerial skills, a deeper understanding of the business and solid digital capabilities are the hygiene factors. To grow into new roles stemming from higher CEO expectations asks for more; the willingness to take risks related to accountability beyond the perimeter of traditional corporate communication is one prerequisite. Another is the courage to advocate stakeholder interests and fight for sufficient resources”.
During the evening, two of the CEOs that participated in the report gave additional insights into some of the report’s key findings and answered direct questions from the audience. Both Laurent Picheral, Deputy CEO and COO, HotelInvest, and Andreas Joehle, CEO, Paul Hartmann AG, stressed through various examples that an enhanced skill set is required to successfully fulfil this leadership challenge. Communicators were urged to be more multi-faceted and proactive than ever before. A higher level of general management and strategic skills is expected to drive future value. Inspired by the additional insights, the attendees have since fed back to VMAGROUP that they were taken aback by some of the new ideas and opinions.
The world of communications is in a state of constant evolution and it is clear from our report and from last Wednesday’s event that communications professionals are being asked to evolve further in order to take up the strategic mantle. To become ever more central to the functioning of a business, to take up the opportunity to learn their businesses more holistically and to be prepared to challenge the status quo. The German communications community is more than prepared to meet that challenge.
If you are interested in reading more about the research please click here .