It’s Time to Make Room at the Table
Scoot over, executives. It’s time to make room at the table for Corporate Communications.
I’ve been in my profession nearly 12 years. Back in 2008, I experienced my first oil slump. I sat in my workspace and sweated whether or not I would be given the pink slip, like so many of my colleagues. You see, working in corporate communications, it seemed obvious that my role was a support function that could be axed at any time. Certainly, my presence wasn’t nearly as essential as the sales team or market research analysts (or so I thought..)
Fast-forward eight years later, (and another oil slump later) and my viewpoint has completely shifted. It’s my hope that c-level executives have altered their positions as well.
Slump or no slump, corporate marketing and communications can no longer be seen as a support function. With the rise in social media, the necessity to provide immediate feedback to all audiences (customer, employee, investor, community, industry) is vital to maintaining brand, relevance and place within the industry. Executive management desperately needs a communications leader during good times, but especially during the downturns. Companies must have a voice and communicate, often and effectively. Silence speaks louder than anything else does. Companies and executives are not ostriches; we can’t bury our heads in the sand and expect to come out of a downturn unscathed.
The good news is that perceptions are shifting. For the past two years, my professional conversations have gone something like this:
Q: What do you do?
Me: I manage public relations and marketing for public and private oil and gas companies.
Q: Wow, that must be a terrible place to be right now. How are you surviving?
Me: Actually, I’ve never been busier.
And here’s why: There’s an understanding among the industry that while we must ‘weather the storm’, there’s also a critical need to communicate in good times and bad. Perhaps not with expensive ads or trade show exhibits, but customers, the industry, the community and other internal and external audiences still need to hear something. Public relations and earned media are essential. There are opportunities to communicate without breaking the bank. And it must be done. I implore executives: scoot your chairs over and give corporate communications a seat and a voice at the decision-making table.
And if there’s not enough room? I suggest you find a bigger table.