According to a PRSA survey released earlier this year, nearly half (43 percent) of New Jersey C-level execs plan to increase their PR spend in 2015, while only 9 percent anticipate a decrease in budget. This could be good news for PR practitioners, whose services continue to be in demand as reputation building remains a top priority, according to the survey.
That said, more than half (59 percent) of those surveyed admitted that they did not fully understand the role and capabilities of PR – reinforcing the need for continued PR education. In fact, 71 percent of executives said they did not feel their PR partners have articulated PR goals and strategies “very well,” and 64 percent said they would support increased investments in PR if goals and strategies were more clearly defined.
According to Cecilia Coakley, Director at Large, PRSA NJ and Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications, MWW, “Our trade has developed into a skillful art that requires a total stakeholder approach, taking into consideration myriad external market forces that impact a brand. It’s up to us to ensure executives are knowledgeable about how these factors affect reputation, so they in turn invest in the right combination of resources.”
In addition, even as executives point to reputation building as a key goal of PR, less than half (44 percent) of those surveyed said they were “very involved” in establishing PR goals for their company in 2014, and 75 percent say they spend a half hour or less each week discussing their PR strategy. According to Nathan Richter, partner at Wakefield Research and lead pollster for the study, this “shows that CEOs ‘don’t know what they don’t know.’ Good reputations don’t just appear out of thin air. A more well-defined articulation of how PR can benefit their companies is a must, but executives also need to get involved.”
The PRSA Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 100 New Jersey C-Level executives, between August 8 and August 25, 2014, using an email invitation and an online survey. The full press release, with more findings, can be found here.