Research and reports
The headline of this Gartner survey is that 83% of chief communications officers report growing influence among the C-suite. This is doubtless welcome news for us all, but isn't the most interesting finding. CCOs also largely reported that their influence is greater than other function heads’ at their organizations, with 75% saying they have slightly or much more influence than their non-communications counterparts.
This second figure is far more interesting as, historically, CCOs have often felt that their expert advice on reputation and relationships is too often ignored in C-suite decision-making in favour of people like the chief legal officer. “Companies are placing a larger emphasis on stakeholder communications and cross-functional collaboration,” said Jennifer Sigler, director analyst in the Gartner Marketing & Communications practice.
We'll be exploring this research in more depth, but our initial thinking is it is inline with other recent research which shows how the COVID-19 pandemic pushed communications to the forefront as CEOs and the C-suite realised the very future of their organisation depended on it. This is the fifth of the Page Principles that all PR professionals should know.
"Conduct public relations as if the whole enterprise depends on it."
There's a lot to unpack in this McKinsey report and while it's mainly focused on sales it's still relevant to communications and corporate affairs. The TL;DR (too long did not read) take is it found :
"that what customers want from omnichannel is 'more'—more channels, more convenience, and a more personalized experience. And if they don’t get what they’re looking for, they’ll take their business elsewhere."
At its simplest, this means we need to engage with stakeholders how they want to be engaged with, not how we want to engage with them. For some in corporate communications, this is a challenge as often the sector is slow to innovate and explore new channels. When it does, it often lacks the experience and skills to do so effectively.
There are no great surprises in this year's Global RepTrak ranking the corporate reputation of the world's "leading" companies. Two of the findings it reports that "ESG is only increasing in importance, and the public is only becoming more disappointed." and that "Ethical operations and fair, creative employment will be crucial."
One of the main benefits of RepTrak is that provides a global benchmark, but that's also potentially its greatest weakness. The topline data on reputation doesn't provide enough actionable insight data to inform companies on public relations and communications strategy. Companies don't have a single 'reputation', but rather multiple reputations with different stakeholder groups and different reputations on different issues.
Ignore the clickbait headline and the fact it's for marketers, as there's a wealth of information for PR and communication professionals. We'll be using it to update some of the statistics in our PR, communication, and social media training workshops and you should be checking that your comms tactics and channels are still the right ones.
The 'facts' are a curious mix of US data and global data, but in our experience often the US trends are the same as the global ones, with just the actual numbers varying.
One of the facts that attracted the most attention is that today more than 3.2 billion photos are shared per day across social media. To put this in to context, this is a graphic from some of our training decks which shows the huge growth in images. In 1995, there were 710 million rolls of film processed per year.
In the UK Ofcom frequently produces reports with useful data and insights, which are invaluable to public relations and communications practitioners. The latest report is no exception. The headline that most of the media has picked up on is TikTots, children defying age restrictions to use social platforms. A third of parents of 5-7s said their kids have social media profiles, despite the minimum age for most platforms being 13.
However, the most interesting statistic we saw was that only two in 10 (22%) adults were able to correctly identify the tell-tale signs of a genuine post, without making mistakes, despite the fact seven in 10 (69%) said they were confident in identifying misinformation.