Are we strategic advisors or a service bureau? This is one of the pressing questions corporate communications leaders face today regarding their function in many b-to-b organizations. Corporate communications is responsible for driving strategic communications initiatives, protecting the organization’s image, and building its visibility and awareness – but the function also has to act like a service bureau to support the larger organization’s myriad communications needs. As a result, corporate communications wears multiple hats to help manage the wide-ranging communications needs of the business.
The challenge often comes in how to support the strategic, high-priority initiatives along with other communications needs. Teams should prioritize the overall needs of the organization according to their strategic value. Then evaluate the team’s structure, including the roles and responsibilities of each team member, to ensure alignment with the organization’s key initiatives. Next, consider the infrastructure and processes necessary to fulfill the requests that fall outside those priorities. Lastly, construct success metrics for the function that illustrate the strategic value of its program.
Consider these four elements for balancing the roles of strategic advisor and service bureau for communications:
When business priorities shift, communications leaders should seize the opportunity to review their own organization’s structure for ways to increase productivity, collaboration and agility. Although communications professionals are accustomed to wearing many hats in any given day, they appreciate any strategies that boost efficiency and effectiveness in tackling their organization’s objectives.
Laura Sudnik is a research analyst for SiriusDecisions’ Strategic Communications Management service. She has 18 years of corporate communications experience and has spent her career helping b-to-b organizations build their public relations, IT analyst relations and social media programs. Follow Laura on Twitter @LauraSudnik.