STUDY: Most Business Execs Seeing ‘Greater Value in PR’

But they still don't understand how it works.

vince vaughan

We had to use these somewhere.

A small but encouraging survey conducted by PRSA New Jersey in collaboration with Wakefield Research found that a significant minority of area business executives plan to spend more on PR services in the coming year:

  • 43 of surveyed execs plan to increase their PR spend for 2015
  • Only 9 percent foresee a decrease in comms funding

The most positive number: 73 percent of those who say they’ll spend more list the increasing value of PR services as the reason behind the decision.

So executives know that PR works…but they’re less clear on HOW it works. More than half (59 percent) even admit that they “do not fully understand the role and capabilities of PR.”

Sound familiar? Here’s the challenge illustrated in graphic form:

prsa study

The C-suite isn’t quite seeing the whole picture, though:

  • 25 percent named “corporate social responsibility” as one of their priorities
  • 18 percent chose “executive positioning
  • Only 12 percent included “crisis management” in their objectives

Someone hasn’t been watching Scandal…or reading behind the headlines. There’s more:

  • Only 44 percent of execs said they’re “very involved” in setting their own companies’ PR goals
  • A whopping 75 percent devote less than one hour per week to public relations concerns

The survey only involved 100 executives based in New Jersey, but the state does play host to some of America’s biggest businesses (hi, Goldman Sachs).

Cecilia Coakley, SVP of corporate comms at MWW and director at large of PRSA NJ, had this to say about the findings:

“The fact that CEOs are becoming more aware of the value PR has from a reputation building perspective, is not that surprising.  But, the fact that they don’t take the time to understand how PR can help drive the business is.

At the same time, and as CEOs are getting savvier around the business case for PR, we need to do a better job in articulating the ROI and showcasing how the PR function can truly serve as a catalyst to a company’s overall growth through a sustained, positive reputation. Because in today’s reputation economy the risk of neglecting PR is too great.”

So while execs are ready to spend more, the challenge lies in proving the value of PR services and getting them more involved in the process.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?