Why You Should Hire A Chief Content Officer


Forbes | May 21, 2019

The Forbes article, “Why You Should Hire A Chief Content Officer," written by Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Norm Yustin, interviews Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Jessica Weber on the importance of content leaders. The article is excerpted below.

The title of this article may be bold, and you may be wondering, "What is a Chief Content Officer anyway?" But stick with me as I believe I can help answer that question, but also answer what do they have in common, where do they come from, and why your company may need one?

I sat down with my colleague, Jessica Weber, who co-leads our global content practice to ask her a few important questions on this trending topic. Jessica recently hosted a panel discussion called “Content Titans” at which she spoke with content leaders from Goldman Sachs, WeWork, SoulCycle, and HP about how they are leveraging content to strengthen the consumer-brand relationship. While the panelists lead content efforts across a diverse group of industries, they share similar backgrounds. They are all former journalists who were previously editors and TV producers – roles that have historically lived within media organizations but are relatively new outside of it.  

I spoke to Jessica earlier this week to glean insight into the rise of the Chief Content Officer within non-media companies. This is what she had to say:

Norm Yustin: Thanks for discussing this important topic with me, Jessica. What is driving demand for this role?

Jessica Weber: There are two major dynamics at play. First, it’s becoming more challenging and less efficient for brands to reach consumers within the cluttered digital landscape. In parallel, consumers are savvier and more skeptical than ever. They are inundated by highly-targeted messaging in their Instagram and Facebook feeds. Consumers are tired of being “sold” to and expect more from brands. This transcends the transaction; brands need to be authentic, offer a point of view or share similar values.  They should represent a community to which consumers want to belong.

Yustin: You mentioned this role is relatively new, but it seems to be gaining traction at some of the most powerful brands in the world.  Where is the Chief Content Officer role most prevalent? 

Weber: To date, we’ve identified over 60 content executives within leading non-media organizations ranging from Airbnb, Glossier and Tinder to Dollar Shave Club, Hilton, and Blackrock. We’ve seen the most traction within the Consumer and Financial Services spaces thus far, but these roles span nearly every industry. What’s most interesting  is the pace of recruiting and the type of talent being hired for this role. Almost 50% of these leaders have been hired in the past two years, the majority of whom are journalists.

To read the full article, click here.

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Why You Should Hire A Chief Content Officer