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Corporate Affairs

The Corporate Affairs function is responsible for managing the stakeholder landscape of the business. With the increasing demand for a greater connection between business and society, the role of Corporate Affairs is becoming ever more influential in businesses, partnering on everything from strategy development to ESG stance to wider corporate reputation. We’ve assembled a range of resources detailing the role, its challenges, and future evolution.

Corporate Affairs

Corporate Affairs, connecting business and stakeholders

The role of Corporate Affairs is variously defined as covering everything from internal and external communications, PR, public policy and government relations, but in truth the remit varies from business to business. What is clear, however, is that the role of Corporate Affairs in connecting business and its stakeholders has become an ever more vital component in delivering corporate strategy, especially with the burgeoning stakeholder capitalism and ESG movements. We’ve assembled a selection of thoughts on our vision for the Corporate Affairs function.


1. Corporate affairs and reputation in the new era

The new normal – a hyper-connected world where media anarchy rules and transparency is expected – has rebuilt the landscape within which corporate affairs teams operate. It has also created an unprecedented opportunity to influence corporate reputation.

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2. Why corporate affairs strategy should lead corporate development?

With the democratisation of information fuelled by technological change, businesses are more accountable to their stakeholders than ever before. Enlightened organisations have understood this evolution as an opportunity to reorient away from a short-termist, shareholder-centric focus, to a more sustainable, longer-term, multi-stakeholder approach. Corporate Affairs role has a key role in helping companies make this transition.

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3. The 5 Competencies of the Corporate Affairs Director

The Connecting Leader in today’s New Normal business world is critical to company success, but how ready are companies to adopt and fully integrate the Connecting Leader role? Is the Corporate Affairs/Communications function the go-to avenue to take on the increasing demands of operating in today’s New Normal? How big is the gap between the current role of the Corporate Affairs/Communications function and the future of the Connecting Leader role?

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4. Reputation Risk: An opportunity for Corporate Affairs

Corporate Affairs is most often the function being asked to provide reputation intelligence to the rest of the business. This presents an enormous opportunity – if reputation is the biggest concern to the leadership of the business, the department which is responsible for providing reputation intelligence should see a commensurate increase in its status within the business.

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5. Authenticity and Corporate Affairs

In the New Normal, authenticity matters more than ever, but what are the traits that we should find in authentic leaders? They are genuine and believe in what they do, showing a willingness to be open to what they don’t know and expressing their true feelings and emotions.

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6. The Connecting Leader, a manifesto for Corporate Affairs and Communications

The Connecting Leader is a necessity in today’s business. They are the partner that every CEO needs to facilitate a fruitful and fulfilling relationship with all the key internal and external stakeholders of the business. This role is the game changer in enabling companies to succeed in the New Normal.

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7. Five predicted business trends for 2021

Few could have predicted the events of 2020 – nor how they transformed the way businesses interact with the wider community. But what will 2021 hold for companies and how they connect to society? Here are five predicted business trends for 2021 that I expect will define the year ahead.

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8. Online Contagion: How misinformation flourishes in the digital age

Despite having access to more information than ever before, people appear to be suffering from an information paradox: as access to information increases, the ability to parse and interpret that information for truth wanes. Apparent 5G-health misinformation is just the latest focus in an era of social media-induced misinformation. As the globe battles a deadly pandemic, the time for misinformation couldn’t be worse – or more threatening to our recovery.

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9. The first rule of Purpose is: You do not talk about Purpose

The devaluation of purpose pre-COVID-19 contrasted with purpose-led businesses that understood the implicit contract they have with all their key stakeholders, be they employees, investors, customers, regulators or the local community to which they belong.

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10. How Purpose Lost its Purpose

It’s unclear when the idea of a corporate purpose beyond the maximisation of shareholder value first appeared, but over the last ten years we have seen purpose evolve from a potentially transformational pursuit to another piece of marketing jargon. As ever, in the rush to board the bandwagon, many businesses have failed to understand the true meaning behind the slogan and now risk undermining the nobler principles that purpose should embody.

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11. A little less conversation…

Over the years, Davos has served as a sort of high-minded dating agency, with business leaders, financiers and politicians able to co-operate to facilitate the growth of trade and investment.

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12. Multilateralism in the era of Media Anarchy

Last week saw the conclusion of the seventy-fourth UN General Assembly,whose sessions were centred around the theme “Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion”.

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Case studies

1. Reputation Intelligence: An opportunity and a risk

The phrase “reputation risk” has become entrenched in the media and is frequently ranked as the key risk facing businesses. However, while the risk has long been acknowledged, many companies have been unsure how to tackle it, assigning it to the Corporate Affairs or Communications teams almost by default. The increasing visibility of this risk...
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2. Why Corporate Affairs should lead on corporate strategy development

This white paper explains why the Corporate Affairs team is perfectly placed to take a key strategic leadership role in the business. With the democratisation of information fuelled by technological change, businesses are more accountable to their stakeholders than ever before. Enlightened organisations have understood this evolution as an opportunity to reorient away from a short-termist,...
Read full case study