A PR Week survey finds communications participating in every area of business life – could business be turning into PR?
Findings by a comprehensive survey in June by PR Week suggest that PR skills now inform nearly every function in business; so could it be that business is becoming PR? Certainly digital and social media have made communications important in almost every department of business. They range from the obvious: marketing, sales and HR to the less obvious departments such as product development, legal, IT, finance and distribution. “Digital has broken all the siloes,” says Giles Fraser of Brands2Life. “It provides a feedback loop for almost everybody in the business if they choose to use it.” That is probably why communications directors are reporting to the survey that they have a more strategic business role and are more involved in decision-making.
This “mission creep” has some ramifications. It means that internal communication is growing in signficance because employees are the ultimate brand advocates. So making sure staff understand the corporate message is a vital task for the comms professionals.
With this new power, though, comes greater responsibility particularly to demonstrate measurable results. Measurement of outcomes rather than outputs is a welcome development with most communicators telling the survey that they are looking for website click-throughs plus increased enquiries and sales arising from external and internal communications.
The communications function has more potential to influence organisations than ever before. To really achieve this, the professionals need to develop a really strong brand narrative and make sure it is understood by all key stakeholders.
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