Seven tips for PR professionals newly reporting to the CEO

Corporate Communication is one of the most important functions of any company. The role that has been in a firm for ages got its due only in the last few years. As companies realized its importance in building a trustworthy brand, the role of communications too became integral to the business strategy.

Thus today, the requirement of a communications specialist and its importance in a firm has increased manifold. From politics, where being a good communicator can win you votes, to being a CEO of a company, where saying the right thing, at the right time can win you deals. This strategic role that drives business value is nowadays, put straight under the eye of the business leader.

As a corporate communications head of Docprime, I have personally experienced immense value in this transition. For me reporting into the CEO has been a learning experience and thus, today, I would like to share 7 things that one must keep in mind while reporting to the chief executive officer for the first time-

  • Always deliver results

Yes, the head of a company expects the team to deliver perfect results always. Thus, whether you are a veteran or a novice in the communications role, being passionate, dedicated and goal-oriented towards your job is essential. It might not always be perfectly done, but in this ever-changing business environment thinking on your feet to manoeuvre the best possible solution makes the job perfect.

  • Alignment

Any activity that aligns and adds-value to the vision of the company will be of importance to the CEO. Thus, before taking an idea to your line manager, talk to various stakeholders and know if your suggestion will contribute towards the bigger business goal. Also, cross-check the facts and logic before you go and discuss anything with the CEO. If your recommendation will add value to the company and is achievable, it will to the senior executive too.

  • Clear and concise communication

The role of a public relations professional can’t be a success without clear and concise communication. As we are an important bridge between the media, companies, and public, thus, sharing facts, and showing the bigger picture to the stakeholders is a vital part of our work.

The CEO too, expects the communications specialists to know about the changing environment and inform him regarding any unforeseen situation that may arise. These may be within the company or the external business landscape. The role of a communications professional is no more limited to only writing good content, but has grown to that of an advisor. Thereby, informing accurately and finding innovative solutions that match the pace of the business is an expectation that the CEO has from the PR professional.

  • Learning should be a continuous process

Learning continuously is fundamental in any business and for any kind of reporting structure. Though, while reporting into the CEO, this aspect becomes even more significant. Thus, as a communications specialist, you have to constantly acquire new skills to provide the right counselling that improves the brand image of the company.

As a personal example, I regularly plan to advance my skill set. Recently I enrolled in a digital marketing course to drive more value from my work and to also, enhance advance my marketing skills. The company also added the responsibility of product communications to my portfolio where I have to work with different internal and external stakeholders such as tech team (developers, QAs) service providers (doctors/ hospitals and customers). Understanding the business aspect is critical and an unstated area of a PR person’s work. Not knowing it will soon make your role an unimportant one for the CEO.

Hence, regardless of your designation self-growth is important.

  • Know more than the job

In this, I would like to specifically tell those professionals who work in a product and services companies that don’t restrict yourself to the job profile. What this means is, get to know more about the core business of a company i.e. the product. Get an in-depth knowledge, by this, I don’t mean technical but innate features of the various product lines and comparison with competing products.

This process will help in your growth process both within the organization and even if you wish to foray to another company.

  • Passion, Commitment, performance and results (PCPR)

These are the four driving forces of any job and any reporting. Passion and commitment might not be tangible attributes but if practised, the CEO will notice it. Furthermore, a person is appreciated by both, the team and the organization when he/she takes that extra step to perform well and is result-oriented. Also, when possible it is advisable to take feedback from the CEO. This shows proactiveness and also gives the person a chance to constantly improve.

  • Accept the change

When I started my professional journey, almost 12 years back, digital media didn’t exist but today, the world is accepting this new form more than the traditional method. Thus, growing with the environment and accepting the change that is taking place both internally and externally is a recommendation that I would give all professionals reporting into the CEO. This attitude reflects openness and showcases you as a person who is willing to accept and move-on than being rigid and closed.

To conclude, I am glad that more and more companies realize the importance of communications and aligning them directly to the CEO. Though the head of the company is regarded as an apt storyteller it is the communications specialist who weaves an informed story by being in touch and sharing inputs from across-employees, stakeholders, and customers.

Amandeep Arora is head- PR and Communications at Docprime.com (A Policybazaar Group Company)