what is a head of communications?

The role of a head of communications (HoC) is multifaceted, central, and crucial in any organisation. When you don the mantle of head of communications, you essentially become the principal architect of the company's voice, image, and narrative. While many outsiders perceive this role to predominantly revolve around media relations and public announcements, the real depth is much more profound.

As the head of communications, you are tasked with crafting coherent, compelling, and consistent stories that not only resonate with the public but also align meticulously with your organisation's ethos, values, and strategic ambitions. Both the internal and external channels of communication are under your purview. This means ensuring that your internal teams are aligned, informed, and motivated while also ensuring the external world, including stakeholders, media, and the general public, perceives your organisation positively.

Every press release, every corporate announcement, and every piece of communication that leaves the organisation carries your imprint. You collaborate with diverse departments – from marketing and PR to HR, stitching together unified narratives that bolster corporate branding. There are plenty of challenges, from managing crises to mitigating negative publicity. Your role is pivotal.

If steering an organisation's communication, building its reputation, and shaping its narrative intrigues you, then this leadership role beckons. Envisioned correctly, the head of communications role isn't just about communication; it's about connection. So, if you're ready to connect, read on and learn more about this captivating career.

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average salary of a head of communications

According to Payscale, the average salary of a head of communications is ₹24,00,000 per year. This amount varies depending on the size of the organisation, sector, and years of experience. Generally, for those starting in senior roles, the pay bracket begins at ₹15,00,000 per annum. With extensive experience and a track record of success, one can expect packages upwards of ₹50,00,000 annually. It's worth noting that in multinational corporations or highly reputed Indian companies, the salary can be significantly higher, complete with added benefits and incentives.

factors that affect a head of communications’ pay

Several factors shape the earning potential of a head of communications. The primary influencer is the industry type. For instance, if you're embedded within high-velocity sectors like technology, finance, or pharmaceuticals, the compensation is often on the higher side. This elevation in pay is attributable to the global scale of operations, the intricacy of communication needs, and the associated challenges.

Secondly, the company's stature and legacy are integral. While established market leaders tend to offer a more generous pay package owing to their deep pockets and larger operational scales, burgeoning startups bring to the table a different value proposition. While they might offer relatively moderate base pay, they often sweeten the deal with equity options, performance bonuses, and other incentives.

Geographical factors also come into play. Metropolitan cities, with their bustling corporate ecosystems and higher living costs, generally provide better compensation than tier-2 or tier-3 cities.

Your personal career trajectory is another determinant. Accumulated experience, proven track records of successfully managed campaigns, and prior stints in leadership roles can significantly augment your compensation. Crisis management, an essential facet of this role, if showcased aptly, can also bolster your negotiation leverage.

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types of head of communications

The most common types of head of communications include:

  • corporate communications head: as someone leading corporate communications, you focus on building and maintaining the company's public image. You handle investor relations and shareholder communication and engage with the broader corporate world.
  • internal communications head: here, you primarily engage with employees. Your role involves ensuring that staff members are well-informed, aligned with company values, and feel connected to the organisation's goals.
  • digital communications head: in this digital age, this role is centred around online communication strategies, from social media to email marketing. You're in charge of building a strong digital brand presence.

working as a head of communications

Serving as a head of communications professional is both challenging and rewarding. You craft narratives, manage crises, and lead teams, ensuring your organisation's voice remains consistent and influential. If weaving stories and managing perceptions intrigue you, read on. The world of communications leadership awaits.


education and skills

Some of the academic qualifications for head of communications include:

  • bachelor's degree: a degree in communications, journalism, or public relations is often the foundational entry point. As the head of communications, you will be expected to have this level of education.
  • master’s degree or certification: advanced degrees or professional certifications in communications, media studies, or business management enhance your credentials, offering deeper insights into strategic communication and leadership. While it is possible to become a head of communication without a master's degree, having one will be very beneficial.
  • industry-specific training: depending on the sector you're in, undergoing courses or workshops specific to that industry can be beneficial. For instance, if you're in healthcare, understanding medical communications is crucial.

head of communications skills and competencies

Some of the qualities of a head of communications include:

  • strategic thinking: being able to devise and implement effective communication strategies tailored to an organisation's goals is essential.
  • crisis management: you possess the ability to quickly assess situations, devise appropriate responses, and manage potential reputational risks.
  • team leadership: leading a diverse team of professionals, ensuring cohesiveness and driving them towards common objectives is a core competency.

FAQs about working as a head of communications

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a head of communications.

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