Survey: Many execs seeing ‘greater value in PR,’ but don’t fully understand it

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The Public Relations Society of America’s New Jersey Chapter asked 100 execs what their PR plans are for 2015. Some answers were encouraging, but there’s still work to be done.

By Matt Wilson | Posted: March 9, 2015

Can one state be considered a PR microcosm? If so, the news from a Public Relations Society of America New Jersey Chapter survey gives a hopeful outlook, but it’s not perfect.

The organization, working with Wakefield Research, asked 100 executives in the Garden State about their PR budgets for 2015. Forty-three said they were planning to boost budgets; just nine said they would lower spending on PR. (Though it isn’t stated in the report, that would indicate that at least quite a few of the remaining 48 plan to keep their budgets the same.)

Of those expecting an increase, nearly three-fourths said they’re “seeing a greater value in PR.”

Now, the bad news: 59 of the respondents “do not fully understand the role and capabilities of PR,” the report states. From the press release:

For example, when CEOs were asked to prioritize their top three objectives for PR, “reputation building” (85 percent) and “increasing brand awareness” (82 percent) were the objectives that jumped to the top of the list. However, PR capabilities that are integral to building reputation, such as “corporate social responsibility” (25 percent), “executive positioning” (18 percent), and “crisis management” (12 percent) were ranked much lower on the agenda.

A large number of the execs surveyed—71—said they don’t believe their PR partners have done a good job of defining their goals and strategies.

“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,” said Cecilia Coakley, director at large for PRSA NJ.

What do you think? Is PRSA NJ’s survey an accurate snapshot—both of projected PR budgeting, and of business executives’ understanding of the field?

 

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