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Cutting Through the Noise
The future of corporate communications
The future is already here —
it's just not very evenly
distributed.
William Gibson
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 2
The World of Corporate Communications
is Changing
Changing communications roles
• Corporate communi...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 3
The Future of Corporate Communications Survey
Who we surveyed Senior in-house communications
profes...
Changing Communications
Landscape
“You have to react faster and
faster. The media always want
faster and more detailed
answers.” (Listed Company,
Czech Repu...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 6
Volunteered biggest recent changes?
Digital media, faster pace and integration
Q. What do you think...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 7
Volunteered biggest current challenges?
Managing reputation and getting the story heard
Managing re...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 8
Communicators focused on delivering consistent
messaging and being more strategic
Base: All answeri...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 9
Q. Thinking about your department and the work you do, how
relaxed or concerned are you about each ...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 10
Q. Thinking about your department and the work you do, how
relaxed or concerned are you about each...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 11
Q. Thinking about your department and the work you do, how
relaxed or concerned are you about each...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 12
Non-traditional stakeholders increasingly important
Q. How important to your organisation would yo...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 13
Communications continue to shift to digital
Q. How important are each of the following communicati...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 14
27%
18%
13%
12%
10%
10%
10%
10%
10%
Greater integration of PA, marketing, PR & comms depts
More pr...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 15
The biggest opportunity lies in “joining up the dots”
Coordination
17%
Social
Media
16%
Stakeholde...
Changing
Communications Roles
Reality #2
The communications
functions is increasingly seen
as more central to the
success of the business. As a
result, ...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 18
Communications taking a more central role in the
organisation
Decreasing (8%)
Staying the same
(26...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 19
“It is increasingly clear that
what happens in any part
of the business, anywhere
in the world has...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 20
Organisations are consolidating their communications to
tell their story in a more consistent and ...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 21
Organisations are consolidating their communications to
tell their story in a more consistent and ...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 22
Organisations are consolidating their communications to
tell their story in a more consistent and ...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 23
Organisations are looking for more control and
consistency
39%
28%
21%
19%
Consistent messaging ac...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 24
The role and title are changing
34% 17% 13% 7%
(Group)
Communications
Director/ Head/ VP
Head of m...
More Communications
Consolidation = Less Anxiety
Analysis suggests that
organisations who have a
consolidated
communications function are
more comfortable than those
who d...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 27
Businesses with consolidated comms functions less
likely to be concerned about “being strategic”
6...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 28
Communicators are looking to external agencies for an
external point of view and advice
Expecting ...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 29
Demonstrating impact to leadership is vital
76%
Say “metrics will be more important for demonstrat...
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 30
Demonstrating impact to leadership is vital
69%
73%
Measure the effectiveness of their corporate c...
What this means for
communicators
© BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 32
Implications
1. The combination of social media and instantaneous digital communication
means tran...
Get a copy of the full report and infographic
www.brunswickinsight.com / www.brunswickgroup.com
priggins@brunswickgroup.com
Thank you
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The future of corporate communications – summary of results

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As Europe’s senior communications professionals scan the horizon for clues about the future of their role, their top concerns are how to ensure consistency of message across the organisation and how to cut through the information overload to be heard. Many communicators believe the answer lies in consolidation of communications functions to ensure alignment and impact.
In order to capture what is top of mind in the shifting European communications arena, Brunswick and the European Association of Communications Directors (EACD) have partnered on a unique piece of research that included EACD members and other senior communicators across Europe.
For more information please contact:
Phil Riggins: www.brunswickgroup.com/people/directory/phil-riggins/

Published in: Leadership & Management
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The future of corporate communications – summary of results

  1. 1. Cutting Through the Noise The future of corporate communications
  2. 2. The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed. William Gibson
  3. 3. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 2 The World of Corporate Communications is Changing Changing communications roles • Corporate communications more central to the success of the business • Greater alignment for more impact • New roles and responsibilities The changing communications landscape • More channels • Faster pace • More audiences
  4. 4. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 3 The Future of Corporate Communications Survey Who we surveyed Senior in-house communications professionals across Europe How many people we surveyed 163 Survey dates 26th January – 9th March 2015 How we surveyed them Online by invitation • Currently very little data on this topic • Conducted in conjunction with the EACD • Provides a picture of the challenges communicators across Europe face
  5. 5. Changing Communications Landscape
  6. 6. “You have to react faster and faster. The media always want faster and more detailed answers.” (Listed Company, Czech Republic) “[The biggest change in the past couple of years is] the higher speed and transparency of communications processes as a consequence of digitalization.” (Listed Company, Germany) The communications landscape is becoming more complex, both in terms of channels, as well as in how to manage, engage with and impact business- critical audiences Reality #1
  7. 7. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 6 Volunteered biggest recent changes? Digital media, faster pace and integration Q. What do you think is the biggest change in the past couple of years in how your communications department does its job? 50% 12% 10% 7% 7% 6% 5% 4% Rise of social, digital and mobile communications Increased pace of communications Integration of communications Doing more with fewer resources More strategic use of communications to manage reputation Engaging with a broader range of stakeholders Greater complexity of work (e.g. managing multiple channels) Measuring & demonstrating comms' business impact & value
  8. 8. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 7 Volunteered biggest current challenges? Managing reputation and getting the story heard Managing reputation Communicating with new audiences Keeping up with change and new media Managing reputation Social and online media Budget, resources and workload Keeping pace with changes Demonstrating the value of comms Globalisation of the business Selecting appropriate tools and channels Prioritising key objectives Message development Engaging the right stakeholders Internal comms Positive differentiation Storytelling, developing messages with impact Q. What would you say is the biggest communications challenge facing your organisation today?
  9. 9. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 8 Communicators focused on delivering consistent messaging and being more strategic Base: All answering (163) 72% 71% 70% 64% 64% 55% 54% 45% 44% 42% Consistent messaging across the business Being more strategic with our corporate communications Creating effective messages Demonstrating link between comms & business goals Using social media effectively Identifying emerging issues Finding workable metrics Maintaining or growing the communications budget Identifying and prioritizing stakeholders Finding creative ideas for campaigns Significant TIER 1 TIER 2 TIER 3 Q. How significant are each of the following potential challenges for corporate communications in your organisation today?
  10. 10. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 9 Q. Thinking about your department and the work you do, how relaxed or concerned are you about each of the following? 45% 47% 48% 60% Changing stakeholder landscape – size and diversity of audiences Increased government regulation With social media, how to separate what matters from what doesn’t Information overload in general % who say they are concerned about each Having an impact in an information saturated communications environment is a huge challenge “With the saturation of channels, the ability to stand out is our biggest challenge. Graphics can look slick for anyone, so it's important for reputation, experience and personality to stand out.” (Listed company, UK)
  11. 11. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 10 Q. Thinking about your department and the work you do, how relaxed or concerned are you about each of the following? 45% 47% 48% 60% Changing stakeholder landscape – size and diversity of audiences Increased government regulation With social media, how to separate what matters from what doesn’t Information overload in general “[I am concerned about the] communication of complex ideas in a world that seems to want 140 character all-in solutions.” (Industry association, Switzerland) % who say they are concerned about each Digital and social media “noise” only compounds the situation
  12. 12. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 11 Q. Thinking about your department and the work you do, how relaxed or concerned are you about each of the following? “Corporate brands will become more exposed and reputation will be harder to preserve, due to social media and public engagement.” (Private company, Serbia) 45% 47% 48% 60% Changing stakeholder landscape – size and diversity of audiences Increased government regulation With social media, how to separate what matters from what doesn’t Information overload in general “Corporate communications should provide a feedback loop from all stakeholders – customers, suppliers, employees, government, media, civil society….” (Listed company, Belgium) % who say they are concerned about each The expanding range of stakeholders also presents a challenge for many
  13. 13. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 12 Non-traditional stakeholders increasingly important Q. How important to your organisation would you say engagement is with each of the following stakeholder groups now and how important will it be in 5 years’ time?
  14. 14. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 13 Communications continue to shift to digital Q. How important are each of the following communications channels for your organization now / and how important do you expect them to be in five years’ time?
  15. 15. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 14 27% 18% 13% 12% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% Greater integration of PA, marketing, PR & comms depts More proactive & strategic use of social media tools & big data Engaging with a broader stakeholder base Digitisation/ death of print media Creative, engaging and authentic storytelling More strategic role in the business Greater fragmentation - multi-media & multi-channel comms More targeted/ bespoke stakeholder messaging Quick response/ continuous real-time engagement Senior in-houses expect the future of corporate communications to be more integrated, social and stakeholder focused Q. In a sentence or two, what do you think the future of corporate communications will look like? What big issues or changes do you expect to see in five years’ time? “Reputation and issues management will continue to take center stage and will be part of good crisis preparation.” (Private company, Spain)
  16. 16. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 15 The biggest opportunity lies in “joining up the dots” Coordination 17% Social Media 16% Stakeholders 15% Unified, more integrated communications across the company Increase social media skills and engagement Broaden and strengthen stakeholder relations and engagement Q. What do you think are the biggest opportunities for corporate communications in your organisation over the next five years? “Strategically determining messages and steering them through different channels - a coordination, steering and supervisory role.” (Private company, Belgium)
  17. 17. Changing Communications Roles
  18. 18. Reality #2 The communications functions is increasingly seen as more central to the success of the business. As a result, various strands of communications are becoming more closely aligned to increase control and impact of messaging
  19. 19. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 18 Communications taking a more central role in the organisation Decreasing (8%) Staying the same (26%) Communications influence is increasing (66%) 30% 17% 15% 12% Successful comms seen as business critical for reputation & performance Comms involved at strategic level or as part of the management team Increased engagement with other departments and employees Recognition of need to communicate effectively and consistently Reasons for increasing influence of corporate communications Q. Do you think the influence of corporate communications in your organisation is increasing, decreasing or staying the same? Q. Why do you say that the influence of corporate communications in your organisation is increasing?
  20. 20. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 19 “It is increasingly clear that what happens in any part of the business, anywhere in the world has immediate impact on a global scale. A head of comms that is empowered to make decisions and take action is vital to minimising reputational damage.” (Private company, UK)
  21. 21. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 20 Organisations are consolidating their communications to tell their story in a more consistent and compelling way 44% 44% say external communications are consolidated or are being consolidated under one leader now
  22. 22. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 21 Organisations are consolidating their communications to tell their story in a more consistent and compelling way Six in ten expect external communications to be consolidated under one leader in five years’ time60%
  23. 23. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 22 Organisations are consolidating their communications to tell their story in a more consistent and compelling way 83% say communications will be more aligned / consolidated in the future 83%
  24. 24. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 23 Organisations are looking for more control and consistency 39% 28% 21% 19% Consistent messaging across channels, audiences and geographies Better coordination across internal departments More control through central accountability Cost benefits and synergies Top reasons for consolidation “Consolidating responsibility makes it easier to tell a consistent story, and provides direct accountability.” (Listed company, UK)
  25. 25. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 24 The role and title are changing 34% 17% 13% 7% (Group) Communications Director/ Head/ VP Head of marketing/ branding and communications Head/ VP/ Director Corporate/ Public Affairs Director/ Director General Chief Communications Officer (CCO) widely used in the US, less so in Europe Job title of main person responsible for external communications (Where responsibility for different types of external communications is consolidated) 3% Head of communications sits on the board Head of comms should sit on the board
  26. 26. More Communications Consolidation = Less Anxiety
  27. 27. Analysis suggests that organisations who have a consolidated communications function are more comfortable than those who don’t with the changes taking place. Reality #3
  28. 28. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 27 Businesses with consolidated comms functions less likely to be concerned about “being strategic” 61% 68% 96% 27% 32% 36% 75% 76% 87% 17% 14% 17% Being more strategic Concern about having consistent messaging Identifying and addressing reputation risks before they harm the business Understanding social media Changing stakeholder landscape How to make sense of big data Consolidated comms Separate comms Businesses with consolidated comms are less worried about being strategic … …and are more comfortable with changing landscape
  29. 29. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 28 Communicators are looking to external agencies for an external point of view and advice Expecting to use external advisors more: 30%: Tactical execution and support 25%: External point of view, strategy advice and sounding board 18%: Public relations / media training 88% Currently use external communications advisors / agencies Future reliance on advisors / agencies 25% 48% 27% More No change Less Q. What do you expect to use external advisors/agencies for? Q. Does your organization use external communications advisors/agencies?
  30. 30. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 29 Demonstrating impact to leadership is vital 76% Say “metrics will be more important for demonstrating the value of our work to senior leadership in the coming years” “Slowly but surely we are able to point to metrics that support the link between successful communications and business performance.” (Listed company, Germany)
  31. 31. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 30 Demonstrating impact to leadership is vital 69% 73% Measure the effectiveness of their corporate communication efforts Of these use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for measuring their corporate communications And for measurement…      49% use surveys 24% use online / social media activity 41% use press coverage
  32. 32. What this means for communicators
  33. 33. © BRUNSWICK | 2015 | 32 Implications 1. The combination of social media and instantaneous digital communication means transparency is the new default setting for communicators 2. Brand and reputation will increasingly be managed as one 3. In communications, form will follow function 4. Communicators will use direct engagement and rely less on intermediaries to deliver the message 5. Agencies will change as well The new realities of corporate communications
  34. 34. Get a copy of the full report and infographic www.brunswickinsight.com / www.brunswickgroup.com priggins@brunswickgroup.com
  35. 35. Thank you

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