Is it Time to Hire a Chief Community Officer?

2 minute read

April 5, 2022

Is it Time to Hire a Chief Community Officer?

You’ve heard the buzz: Chief Community Officer is the latest, hottest job title. But just as every company does not have a Chief Purpose Officer (CPO) or Chief Risk Officer (CRO, not to be confused with the other CRO: Chief Revenue Officer), not every company needs a Chief Community Officer. 

This may be an unpopular opinion among many community professionals. But I’ve worked with and conducted research for hundreds of different organizations that invest in community. The insights and experience that my team and I have gleaned from this work have revealed that some companies are simply better suited than others to embrace the position—and to give it the respect it deserves. 

How do you know if it’s time to hire a Chief Community Officer? There are three key indicators that you’re positioned to set up your new hire (or yourself, if you’re aiming for the position) for success. 

3 Signs that it’s Time to Hire a CCO

  • You create or advise communities on behalf of your clients or customers. 

If you have developed a community platform or services and if you are hosting other clients’ communities, you will eventually need to have a CCO on board to create a strategy for your own community, establish standards for the community managers you hire, and steer the direction of your software alongside your Chief Product Officer. 

For example, Building Brave, a platform provider for women’s mentoring groups, recently hired a Chief Community Officer who can raise the bar for their team and clients when it comes to community development and best practices. Having a CCO can unify the experience, setting and maintaining standards of excellence.   

  • Multiple parts of your organization deliver many-to-many community initiatives. 

Without a CCO, this one is a recipe for confusion, uncertainty, and unhappy community members. While community programs may have launched as MVPs (minimum viable products), there will soon come a time when you need to mature these MVPs and tie them together intentionally. Without doing so, you can expect to create operational quagmires and a disjointed experience for participants. A CCO can help you refine your overall strategy and deliver on the potential of all the great programs you’ve launched. 

  • Your company values include words like collaboration, community, connection, cohesion, or unity

If your brand values state the importance of community but the organization doesn’t back those statements with clear actions, those values will soon become throwaways—symbolic of a lack of integrity. Bringing on a Chief Community Officer and giving them the resources and respect needed is a clear signal that you take your stated values seriously. 

Now it’s your Turn

When considering if it’s time to hire a Chief Community Officer, don’t follow the hype. Follow your purpose. It won’t steer you wrong.

What other signs that it’s time to hire a Chief Community Officer for your organization? Are there any exceptions you can think of to these rules of thumb??

Learn more about the Rise of the Chief Community Officer and other community predictions in our free eBook!

 

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Carrie Melissa Jones

Written by Carrie Melissa Jones

Carrie Melissa Jones is a community leader, entrepreneur, and community management consultant who has been involved with online community leadership since the early 2000s. As the founder of Gather Community Consulting, she consults with brands to build and optimize communities around the world.

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