Part one in a series on the state of the PR industry
The University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism has released their seventh bi-annual Communication and Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices (GAP VII) study.
Since the early 2000s, the study has strived to provide PR/Communications professionals guidance on decisions they will face, track trends and perceptions within the industry as well as the corporate structure and “best practices” among their peers.
Overall, there is very good news—the PR/Communications industry is definitely healthy and growing, despite the sluggish economy. Over 600 senior level communications leaders participated in this most recent study and all reported a budget increase for their departments from 2009. Most think they will see no budget change, and perhaps even an increase, in 2012.
Clearly the C-Suite values the work of the PR/Comm department and are correspondingly investing company resources there.
Not only are they allocating more to PR/Comm from a budget standpoint, but C-Suite is also actively seeking their counsel. Sixty percent of those surveyed strongly agreed with the statement that members of the PR/Comm department are invited to attend senior-level strategy meetings.
It would be interesting to see the historical data on this particular question, to see how C-Suite perceptions have changed since this study began, but this seems surprisingly (and encouragingly!) high. I doubt if this exact survey question were asked of the same audience 10 years ago, the results would be anywhere near as high.
One thing is clear, as PR/Communications has expanded to include a broader set of responsibilities (social media, corporate reputation, internal stakeholder communications, etc.), the need to be at the table is increasingly more important.
These increases in both budget and involvement in strategic planning meetings demonstrate how top executives value their PR/Communications professionals, welcome news for long-time practitioners and newcomers to the field.
Do you find this to be true in your organization? If you work for a non-profit or an association, do you agree with these findings, or do you think they are different for your field?
Part two of this series will focus on the broadening of the role the PR/Communications professional is expected to play in the 21st century.
For further reading:
GAP VII: Seventh Communication and Public Relations Generally Accepted Practices Study (USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism)
Communication-driven management consulting: Changing the stakes (Council of Public Relations Firms)
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