Attributes of the Modern Corporate Affairs and Communications Practitioner

Reputation, resilience, renaissance

Business model disruption, the speed of digital connectivity and geopolitics has created a new landscape of economic uncertainty, reputational impacts have never been so prevalent. Instability has promoted the role of the Corporate Affairs and Communications Practitioner, as the thirst for clarity in a complex world has elevated their expertise and insights.

I assessed the blend of new attributes our clients are looking for, as they develop their teams to meet the agility required to navigate the ‘new world new rules’ and help identify the potential gaps.

1) reputation | strategic orientation

  • Reputation has been reset. Corporate Affairs practitioners now need to be comfortable with ambiguity. They must remain fluid in repositioning strategic orientation against the shifting backdrop of a highly connected and politicised  environment, whilst creating competitive advantage out of challenges, moving from defend and protect to engage and lead.
  • The function must be a part of the Executive Committee’s decision-making process and seen as the team of ‘trusted advisers’. A recent report cited 82% of Corporate Affairs Directors attend their firm’s Executive Committee’s meetings, with 42% sitting on the committee itself,  in order to help shape strategy.
  • Practitioners therefore need to provide the crucial link between helping to understand and define the economic opportunities into action-on-the-ground, through both corporate and brand narratives.

2) Resilience | outside in

  • Practitioners need to provide clear and empathetic support to employees and consumers, untangling potentially complex and misguided information into compelling communication and value propositions. This will be directed to a range of stakeholders who will be at various stages of understanding what the organisation’s vision is and what it means to them.
  • They need the credibility to engage with policy makers to shape and influence new legislation. At all levels, they need to be a well-respected figure with gravitas, integrity, influence, and a robust commercial track-record of leadership in order to leverage value from policy.
  • A coach, collaborator and connecter, practitioners need to help set strategy and devolve responsibility into the business.

3) Renaissance | Change management

  • People want to know what an organisation stands for, where it is coming from and where it wants to get to. Practitioners need to cultivate and articulate a story that captures the culture of the organisation, armed with case studies, personal stories and a strong key message. They require the  ability to influence and guide key decision makers and stakeholders in the business.
  • Industry experience is not often cited as necessary, it is far more important to have the functional experience across the communications mix. Cross-sector movement is common in corporate affairs and communications.
  • Practitioners require experience embedding a business transformation or change management programs, and the ability to create compelling business cases and positioning initiatives to promote behavioural change. Building alliances through collaborating, influencing, networking with opinion formers and understanding how they interrelate back to the commercial business strategy.

If you would like to discuss your career, or need to hire into your team please contact

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