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PUBLIC RELATIONS

Corporate communications increasingly important to top managers

By our News Team | 2021

PR becomes critical as companies are forced to confront more change and complexity than at any time in recent history.

There is a dramatic shift in the importance placed on corporate communications by CEOs, boards of directors and other C-suite executives at the world’s leading companies.

This is the claim being made by Edelman, which is itself an international public relations firm, in a new study entitled Future of Corporate Communications.

The report examines trends driving the evolution of the modern communications function and current and future priorities of today’s senior communications leaders.

According to Edenman, its research finds that the role of corporate communications has forever changed – shifting away from what has traditionally been viewed as a support function towards one increasingly recognised as an enabler of enterprise value.

Public relations

Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay

“From a lingering pandemic to growing social and geopolitical tensions, technological disruption and an accelerating climate crisis; at no time in recent history have top global companies been forced to confront so much change and complexity,” said Jim O’Leary, US Chief Operating Officer. 

“As leaders navigate this myriad of issues, the role of communications has become more materially important to CEOs, boards of directors and other C-Suite executives.”

Notable highlights from the study include:

Communications has become more materially important to the C-Suite
Forty-six percent of corporate communications officers (CCOs) surveyed now report to the CEO, compared to 34% in 2014. Seventy-seven percent said perceptions of the role of communications as a strategic business driver favourably changed within their organisation during 2020.

The modern communications function is agile and multidisciplinary
The modern corporate communications function is agile, multidisciplinary and insights driven. Eighty-nine percent ranked functional evolution in their top areas of internal investment for the coming year.

Communications technology will allow comms to deliver greater ROI
CommsTech is ushering in a new era and communicators can use it to deliver quantifiable value to the business. Seventy percent report communications technology as a top area of investment for the coming year.

The increased focus on employees isn’t a pandemic fad
The attention being placed on the workforce, workplace and wellbeing of employees is here to stay. Nearly two-thirds report an increased focus on employee communications.

Stakeholders are holding companies more accountable
Expectations around social issues have shifted and 73% report that these issues have shifted their communications priorities. 

A modern organisational structure only gets you so far
Corporate communications structures continuously transform. Forty-three percent report having a centralised structure, compared to 26% matrixed and 31% decentralised.  In any model, it is important to focus on governance, processes and accountability.

Communications enables transformation
Communicators are increasingly acting as change agents, with 77% reporting that business transformation is driving their communications agenda.

The line between communications and marketing continues to blur
The rapid proliferation of available channels has led communications to play a bigger role in marketing. Sixty-five percent of CCOs rank marketing communications in their top five areas of increased agency partner investment for the coming year.

The corporate brand matters now more than ever
In an increasingly complex activist and multi-stakeholder universe, the corporate brand matters now more than ever. Nearly two thirds of CCOs said “Brand and Corporate Identity” is something their team is responsible for today.

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