Thursday, July 26, 2007

A not so subtle way to access revenue-making talent

So VMA are raising their profile and looking for a means to access potential revenue-earning talent by sponsoring the new and some would say spurious Corp Comms Top 100 Club .

Coming out of CorpComms Magazine, the blurb states: The Corp Comms Top 100 club creates a network of the most influential and inspiring individuals within the communications marketplace; Members will range from individuals responsible for revitalising an internal employees’ messaging scheme to those who have been principle in determining a major CSR policy or to others who have successfully rebranded a FTSE 100 company.

A number of things strike me as worrying about this new club of corporate communicators. The first is that it's exclusive to those working in-house. Yes, there are many great communicators in-house, but there are just as many - if not more working in agencies and as independents. it's often these people who are the creative powerhouses, while their internal colleagues get on with managing their teams and trading in corporate politics. Surely a real 'Top 100' would blend the best of in-house and consultant talent?

Second, I worry about any organisation that still regards IC as 'revitalising an internal employees' messaging scheme'. So, the magazine still regards IC as being postman come publisher? Sounds like they're still very externally focused and behind the times on organisational comms.

Finally, a concern that could also be an opportunity: this new 'club' covers a hugely wide area - from IC to Public Affairs to PR to CSR - often areas that report into different heads in the organisations I work with. Their skills, concerns and outlook are often quite different and the so-called powerhouse that the magazine is looking to create may turn out to be no more than a collection of disparate strands.

Of course, as we move to issues-based communication, organisations should be knitting together all the strands of their communication - so actually there could be a great opportunity here to create and mobilise best practice.

It's just a shame that this new network is under the auspices of a magazine looking to make money by selling subscriptions to big corporates, and sponsored by a recruitment consultancy with a need to get the top talent on their books. Of course, it's the way the world works, but I wonder at the independence in selecting the cream of our industry's cream.

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