Rapid Changes Making Communications More Important for C-suite, Study Finds
By Greg Beaubien
Amid the lingering pandemic, social upheaval and other changes, the communications function has become more valuable to corporate leaders, according to new research by Edelman.
Its report, the “Future of Corporate Communications,” says a dramatic shift has occurred in the importance that CEOs, boards of directors and other C-suite executives place on corporate communications.
In interviews with nearly 250 senior-level communicators, 46 percent of chief communications officers say they now report directly to their organization’s CEO, up from 34 percent in 2014. Seventy-seven percent of respondents say executive perceptions of communication as a strategic business driver improved in their organizations during 2020.
Other key findings from the study include:
• “CommsTech,” communications technology, such as artificial intelligence for analytics and virtual reality as a storytelling tool — which Edelman says can provide “actionable intelligence to precisely target, measure and shape trust and behavior” — is ushering in a new era. Communicators can use such technologies “to deliver quantifiable value to the business,” the report says. Seventy percent of respondents say CommsTech will be an investment priority in the coming year.
• As concern for employee well-being increases, nearly two-thirds of the communications leaders surveyed say they’re focusing more on employee communications.
• Seventy-three percent say expectations concerning social issues have altered their communications priorities.
• Seventy-seven percent report that business transformations have become central to their communications agendas.
• As communications channels proliferate, 65 percent of CCOs rank marketing communications among their top-five areas for increased investment.
• But just 6 percent of CCOs surveyed expect their budgets to increase by 15 percent or more this year.