Marketing used to be the biggest driver of sales. Today, consumer behaviour is increasingly influenced by trust – which is corporate affairs’ turf. Meanwhile, Australian firms are realising just how far behind they have slipped to US and European headquartered competitors when it comes to environmental and social governance (ESG), and the sense of purpose employees and external stakeholders now demand of brands. Change is accelerating, warn global executive search specialist Anna Whitlam, Commtract’s Vanessa Liell and Australian Pork’s Andrew ‘Billy’ Baxter. Those that fail to quickly adapt “will just miss out…. and we are already seeing that.” But Australian brands appear live to the threat: demand is soaring for comms professionals that can build relationships internally and externally – “deep specialists” that can drive reputation and integrate with marketing to deliver growth – and balance risk with reward.