Notified/PR Week survey: More than 85% of PR professionals see growing importance of PR at the executive level
Corporate communications is subject to change due to crises: Worldwide supply crises, the Corona pandemic, Russia’s war against Ukraine, climate change and other challenges make it difficult for companies to always make the right strategic decisions and do business successfully. This also means that successful corporate communications are more in demand than ever. A survey by Notified/PR Week found that more than 85% of PR professionals believe PR plays a stronger position in the boardroom today than it did two years ago. Seventy-six percent of respondents said the C-suite is more inclined to turn to PR than another department when a crisis occurs or appears imminent.
This presents a tremendous opportunity for the PR industry, according to Ben Choder, president of Notified: corporate communications needs to reach all internal stakeholders across all areas of the company that can benefit from a strategic, data-driven communications effort. Therefore, he said, the PR industry must continue to drive measurement and the use of data.
PR evaluation in search of new measurement tools
One of the biggest challenges PR will face in the coming years, according to Ben Choder, is creating a measurement framework for activities that have been difficult to capture with traditional measurement tools, such as diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I), crisis reactions and stakeholder sentiment in response to a company’s statement on an important social issue.
This, he says, requires innovation and an even broader application of PR technology: responding quickly to breaking news, understanding who is most likely to influence an important story, analyzing stakeholder sentiment across multiple channels, measuring the impact of a press release based on social media results, and understanding share of voice in ESG narratives. For Choder, it’s clear that the amount and quality of data PR professionals have access to can better illustrate the impact of a communications strategy on the bottom line.
Sample results from the survey: ESG issues increasingly important
The Notified/PR Week survey shows that PR professionals are spending significantly more time on ESG issues than they did two years ago. When asked, “Do senior leaders really understand the need for ESG and meaningfulness to be a central part of everything they do in their Companies are?” the respondents answered:
- Yes, very much so: 25.4 %
- Somewhat: 61.3 %
- Marginal: 10.5 %
- Not at all: 2.8 %
When asked if press releases are still a valuable part of the media mix, respondents said:
- 79 % with yes
- 21 % with no
Beyond social media and press releases, PR pros were asked about seven other tools they use extensively:
- Communication with management level: 51.9 %
- Video: 42,5 %
- Blogs: 37.6 %
- Live streams and virtual events: 37.6 %
- Company newsletter: 32.6 %
- Sponsored/Paid Content: 25.4 %
- Podcasts: 18.8 %
PR professionals face ongoing challenge
The survey clearly underscores the persistent problems that PR pros have with demonstrating the impact of their work. The following responses to four specific questions illustrate this:
- Customer loyalty
- We are currently only able to collect some data in this area: 47.5 %.
- Our current ability to capture this data is weak: 25.4 %
- Increase in turnover
- We are currently only able to collect some data in this area: 46.4 %.
- Our current ability to capture this data is weak: 23.2 %
- Reputation Changes
- We are currently only able to collect some data in this area: 50.8 %.
- Our current ability to collect this data is weak: 19.4 %.
- Positioning in competition
- We are currently only able to collect some data in this area: 49.2 %.
- Our current ability to collect this data is weak: 16.0 %.
Ben Chodor concludes from the survey results: “When it comes to communications, the stakes are higher than ever. Senior executives rely on PR to respond to major global events, social and geopolitical issues, the stock market and ESG and sustainability initiatives. There is a huge opportunity for PR to finally have a real seat at the table.” PR will become even more important in the coming years, he said, as they will need to work ever more closely with sales, marketing and leadership to influence decisions at critical times.