This summary blog post appears courtesy of Cision and PRWeek. The full study can be found here.

The 2018 Global Comms Report, the second annual Cision/PRWeek global survey, reported a growing focus in relationship and talent development. The study evaluated current public relations trends and challenges reported by 410 senior level marcomms professionals across seven countries.

Comms Harnesses Its Talent To Stay Ahead

  • Technology and data tools require the proper talent to be optimized
  • Data-driven skills are essential in today’s industry
  • PR and marketing departments worked better together this year to prove bottom-line
  • Professionals recognized the strategic use of channels and influencers as key to impacting consumer behavior

Challenges From Everywhere

The study found that “there is no one challenge that broadly dominates,” but PR professionals globally are sharing challenges in:

  • Tightening budgets (51%)
  • Inability to measure impact effectively (50%)
  • Competing with paid media for budget (47%)

Even though these challenges are of high concern, there are still many barriers that professionals must breakthrough such as talent recruitment and retention, better alignment with other functions and the 24/7 chatter about brands among external sources.

Consumed By Content
Traditional media placements are declining as brand websites, social media and native advertising rise in “influencing consumer-buying behavior.” Understanding how each of these platforms optimizes strategy is key toward solving the challenges presented earlier.

The year-over-year comparison showed these channels have changed in effectiveness since 2017.

By the numbers:

  • 13% brand website increase, 10% social media increase and 7% native ad increase
  • 6% broadcast feature decrease, 4% traditional ad decrease and 3% blog post decrease

The country-by-country assessment highlighted the top three channels reported by each of the seven countries.

Featured, interesting takeaways include:

  • At 21%, brand video scored lower in the U.S. than any other country
  • At 21%, blog posts were scored higher in China than any other country
  • At 25%, traditional ads scored higher in France than any other country
  • At 32%, native ads scored higher in Germany than any other country

Powerful Voices
Strategic partnerships with influencers will positively impact consumer behavior. Global insights reported that everyday consumers have the most sway, but mainstream journalists and celebrities are closely valued as having the most impact. Each country showed that they “merit brand attention and respect” by sharing their sentiments toward the various influencer groups.

By the country:

  • U.S. scored mainstream journalists higher than any other country
  • Canada had the smallest gap between top and bottom answers among all countries surveyed
  • U.K. had the largest gap between the top and bottom answers
  • France scored bloggers higher than any other country
  • Germany scored corporate executives higher than any other country
  • Sweden scored employees higher than any other country
  • China scored celebrities higher than any other country

Tactical Eye
PR professionals still create content as an everyday tactic, but have increased media monitoring, analytics and reporting tactics from last year.  Traditional journalists remain a global key audience for their content. More professionals though are paying influencers as part of their strategy or at least devoting more of an effort toward building relationships with the powerful voices previously noted.

What Data Is Doing For You
There is an increase in ability to use data to link comms efforts to consumer behavior, but there is a challenge when proving bottom-line impact because many professionals are lacking in taking full advantage of technology and data benefits.

By Global numbers:

  • 27% receive the full benefit of technology and data
  • 54% identify the right influencers to impact consumer behavior
  • 67% struggle with a lack of data to prove bottom-line impact of earned media efforts

Ashleigh Kathryn is a ProMasters graduate student at the University of Florida. She is 2018-2019 PRSSA National President and is a member of the IPR Street Team. Follow her on Twitter @Ashleigh_K_W.

Heidy Modarelli handles Growth & Marketing for IPR. She has previously written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, The Next Web, and VentureBeat.
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