2018: Is our corporate communications profession ready for this data driven challenge?


What becomes more important in our industry in 2018 (and forward) is the challenge to work more and more with data. Not only to drive results, but most of all to get the right commitments and budgets in place. Numbers don’t lie and in the C-suite, numbers make the difference.

Key question to ask yourself, are you capable enough to have the discussion based on the numbers? In other words, do you have the right capabilities in your team for collecting and analyzing data? But also, do you have the right skills, knowledge and understanding yourself to present, defend and discuss the numbers?

Fact is simple, the C-suite understand numbers and will challenge them, because they might not confirm what they have been thinking (based or not based on data). They might give you a hard time challenging the numbers, the source and the correct interpretation of the data.

More important is that those C-suite members see that they might lose control, because your numbers have put you in the driving seat. You are able to draw impactful conclusions on areas they own (until now) and are accountable for. Especially when you get the support from the CEO and CFO to take that position.

So, the trend to be more data driven should lead to communication professionals becoming more data savvy in such a way that it becomes more of a second skin that fits so comfortable that you really enjoy leading the discussion and get the results that you want in the discussion.

As a result of this, also our role ‘at the table’ becomes one in which we are more involved in the discussions around other fields, because we have demonstrated to think out of our own comfort zone. Not an easy task, but that is what makes communication professionals, real C-suite professionals.

Let’s discuss whether our profession is ready for this data driven challenge.


First published 10 February 2018 as PRCA blog: https://www.prca.org.uk/DataDrivenChallenge

Author: Ger Peerboom

Seasoned communications professional with a successful track record impacting the performance of major organizations. Used to working closely with the C-suite and cross-functional teams to realize enterprise goals with the introduction of enhanced integrated communication and branding approaches.

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