If you want to understand how management consultants will move their show to the CCO, read the Spring 2010 (vol. 51, no. 3) issue of MIT Sloan Management Review and the compelling thesis by David Bach and Bruce Allen, “What Every CEO Needs to Know About Nonmarket Strategy.”

That’s NON-market strategy. A balky term for an elegant idea that puts CEOs and CCOs on the same page.

Bach’s and Allen’s insight for managers is that the many folks and forces who may never write you a check matter. A lot. The players who don’t play directly in the supply and demand of goods and services are coequals in the calculus of a company’s competitive advantage.

This is not news to CCOs, but it’s welcome relief in a chief communicator’s effort to convince a CEO that there are means and methods for managing stakeholders outside the transactional food chain. They are the governments, associations, employees, lawmakers, regulators, media, and NGOs who preside as public judges over a company’s most prized intangible assets — reputation, brand, credibility and trust to name a few.

What Bach and Allen are essentially articulating is a post - Porter theory where strategy now moves its wares from the realm of quantifiable capital to intangible assets. From my perspective, Nonmarket Strategy is better couched as Influence Strategy (see The Elements of Influence, Penguin 2006).

But it’s confirmation that The Standard Table of Influence Strategies has broad application and that strategy is finding a new home in the management of the heretofore unmanageable. Perhaps, most significant, it’s a bridge that narrows the gap between executive and communications management.

NOTE: Playmaker’s Forum has a new name – Influence Strategy 101

Alan Kelly
CEO and Founder
Playmaker Systems, LLC