Ways communicators can get more resources for their ever-expanding roles

 How embedding yourself in the business and being a strategic advisor may help you get the resources you need.

How communicators can get more resources.

Adam Kiefaber is an experienced communicator, who has led PR teams for Fortune 500 companies in payments and financial services. Previously, he spent nearly 10 years as a journalist working for The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Cincinnati Post and CNN.  

I cringe every time I hear communicators say they are “now responsible for doing more with less” and how proud they are of their “small, but mighty teams.” 

Unfortunately, those messages are truer now than ever before.  

According to the 2023 Future of Corporate Communications report from Edelman, 80% of communication leaders say their role is more demanding than it was a year ago. Additionally, nearly half feel their CEO doesn’t recognize the resources needed to run the function properly. 



As communicators, that means we have a problem. 

To solve this issue, we must better show the value of communications to leadership, and how an investment or hire will help the company achieve its goals and not just lighten our workloads. 

To find the answer, I reached out to someone who gets asked this question maybe more than anyone. 

Meet Radina Russell, who is Edelman’s U.S. corporate practice chair and chief architect of its recent communications report. She advises clients on best practices and does so for the largest public relations agency in the world. 

Here is what we discussed: 

Embed communications into the business and be a strategic advisor  

Russell claims that communication leaders can make a big jump on how they influence the business.  

“Communication roles expanded – out of necessity – during the pandemic,” Russell said. “To navigate COVID, business leaders needed to partner up where it made sense. And communications – when centralized – is the corporate leader in processes and procedures when issues pop up.  

“COVID changed many communicators to strategic advisors.” 

Post-pandemic, that trend has continued, with 52% of chief communication officers considering themselves strategic advisors in 2023 compared to just 35% in 2021, according to the report. 

“If you are looked on as an equal, you are no longer just a cost center. You are a partner,” Russell said. “If you are an equal, your goals are tied to business outcomes and are no longer focused on just communication metrics.” 

When it comes to getting more resources, leverage the entire strategic counsel 

If you are truly embedded into the business and have a seat at the table with leadership – then your communication efforts should be celebrated when the group can move the needle in a key strategic area for the company. 

While being viewed as an equal and sharing in the wins and losses of the company is great and all, how does that help you level up your communication resources? 

Russell and I discussed attracting and retaining top talent. First step would be to partner up closely with the chief human relations officer. Collectively, you should determine what is needed on your end and identify what part of their budget is available for your communication efforts. 

Now, if there is not enough to go around with your CHRO and the CEO is demanding results, be ready to look around the table for more help. With it, you can put together the right pitch for your CEO. 

“You can then say to your CEO, this is what we are trying to solve so we went back and measured this like we measure our customers. We also did some political polling internally on messaging and discussed with sales and other leaders to take a 360 view. As a result, here are the three takeaways we have and what we need to execute,” Russell said. 

Reset how you think about data – look forward, not back 

In the previous example, you didn’t center your focus on your previous media coverage reports or employee engagement scores. 

You went around the table to build your case. 

It wasn’t about bragging about how well the company has done in the past, which is a trap we fall into to measure our own performance. It was about providing actionable data, says Russell. 

“This truly is not about big data. This is about solving a problem or driving to your desired result with actionable data,” Russell said.  

“Let’s say you want to increase the stock price. Based on data you can gather from other leaders at that table and what you are seeing from other companies, what do you believe we can do about it? What do you need to get it done? And what do you think the result will be?” 

It is time now to not focus or try to justify your work on past communications results, Russell says. Rather, it is time to advise what the company should do next. 

Because, as strategic advisors, that is what we do. 

Topics: PR


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