At a recent dinner, co-hosted by the Council of PR Firms and the Arthur W. Page Society in Chicago, a discussion on the future of the Corporate Communications Officer (CCO) was the main course. Both corporate and the agency perspectives were well represented throughout the evening’s panel discussion; highlights were captured in the Council’s new weekly e-publication, The Firm Voice.

Being authentic, as we discussed that evening, requires more negotiation and courage from today’s practitioner. The CCO’s efforts on this front, which include the four mandates laid out in the “The Authentic Enterprise” can be bolstered by stronger partnerships across internal functions as well as with external relationships.

One of those four mandates is “embracing new media,” which was covered in a recent PR Week article, “Corporate PR Execs See New Media as the Weak Link” and ties in well with the spirit of our dinner discussion. Embracing new media requires both time and the right ” partner/interpreter .” In a sense, it’s like learning a new language: you can try learning it yourself or you can work with someone who is fluent. PR firms can oftentimes help CCOs apply the various dialects of new media into their communications programs because most firms have already made the investment in the talent and technology. Just as the CCO needs to forge a bond with the CMO to address the overall needs of the organization, as was revealed in “The Rising CCO” research by Weber Shandwick and Spencer Stuart, the expertise within the client/agency relationship can help strengthen the contributions by the CCO and his/her department to the overall organization.