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What do CEOs want from PR?

This week on the PRmoment Podcast we talk about what CEOs want from PR and identify the 7 top attributes that CEOs want in their comms directors.

The folks at PR recruitment firm VMA Group have recently interviewed 20 CEOs and today we’re going to chat with VMA’s MD Lucy Cairncross about what she’s found out about CEO communication priorities!

Thanks so much to the PRmoment Podcast sponsors of the PRCA.

Here’s a summary of what Lucy and I discussed:

2 mins What are CEO’s current priorities?

3 mins Are UK CEOs more brow beaten than their international counterparts?

4 mins The top 4 CEO concerns: International stability, economic turbulence, political changes and environmental commitments.

6 mins What do CEOs want from their PR and comms teams?

“Comms is central to the quality of response to those issues.”

“Previously comms was a side thought, now comms is at the heart of the big issues from the very beginning.”

“The breadth of responsibility that comms people have within organisations is now vast”

“Successful organisations will have strength in comms”

12 mins Why are CEOs still struggling with their organisation's home, hybrid or office working policies?

16 mins The impact of the speed of organisational change on the priorities of the CEO.

“Organisations need to adapt to survive…for some organisations, their raison d’etre will no longer be viable.”

18 mins The focus and challenges the CEOs are experiencing in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I)?

“DE&I requires constant attention across all functions.”

21 mins PR people should sell T-shirts with this message on them:

You cannot be effective as a CEO without a trusted communicator by your side.” Robert Swaak, CEO, ABN AMRO

24 mins How internal comms went to the forefront of CEO priorities during COVID.

28 mins Are in-house PR and comms folks retaining the increased breadth of responsibility they gained during COVID

“The expectation is the same…but they aren’t necessarily being given more headcount and more budget”

32 mins Are comms directors now more important than marketing directors?

“Where they aren’t aligned and where they don’t work together, those cracks really show”

“They are aligned functions but not the same function.”

35 mins The 7 top attributes that CEOs want in the comms directors:

  1. Subject matter expertise

  2. Empathy

  3. Nuance

  4. Clarity

  5. Connection

  6. Agility

  7. Coolness under fire

41 mins Lucy reflects on the current state of the in-house PR jobs market.

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