Iliyana's Blog

The State of Corporate Communications in 19 Stats

[fa icon="calendar"] 30-Oct-2018 10:00:00 / by Iliyana Stareva

state of corporate communications

76% of communications professionals agree that ‘digital communications is the future of communications.'

How many of them actually live by this now is not a lot as you'll see below. 

I recently came across a research report on communicating in an integrated world and want to show you some of the most interesting findings from my point of view. 

Before I get into some of the stats, I want to make a quick comment. Digital and social media as well as proving their ROI continue to remain this widely challenging area for communications professionals which is beyond me. It's been over a decade since this movement started and you'd think that 10+ years should be enough to change mindsets and work procedures. 

Change management is not easy, I know. But not adapting quickly puts your company at too big of a risk. Sticking with the status quo might allow you to continue growing at the same rate but I'd urge you to think about your cost of inaction and see how that growth rate would be affected if you didn't change quickly enough. 

Let's look into the data now. 

The State of Digital and Social Media in Corporate Communications: 

  • 76% agree that ‘digital communications is the future of communications’
  • 53% rate their organisation’s current usage of digital communications and social media as poor or average
  • 74% of corporate communications teams use social media for ‘corporate messages’ or to put it another way to shout at people (is this really social?)
  • Only 29% of corporate communications professionals use social media for CSR, 22% for crisis communications and 16% for reporting.
  • Just 2% are using Pinterest (half of the number using Google+!) when 32% use blogs (I added this stat specifically because Pinterest drives most of the social media traffic to this website). 

The Influence of Communications at Board Level

  • 66% of communications teams have a reporting line to a board member.
  • But only 27% of respondents say that a communication professional is sitting on their company's board.
  • For 19%, their communications function is either represented at board level by a communications professional or a marketing director.
  • This leaves 42% of respondents having no communication professional with a seat at the table, while 12% say this isn’t applicable.
  • Still, 75% of respondents feel the importance of communications is recognized by their CEO/MD.
  • 64% of respondents strongly agree/agree communications will have more influence within their organization during the next 12 months. 
  • 81% believe the demand for communications will increase in their organization within the next 12 months.
  • Alarmingly 31% of organisations do not have a formal communication strategy.
  • And even alarmingly, just 54% of respondents agree that “progress towards communications objectives are researched, measured and evaluated with metrics and KPIs”.

I would say that the last two stats here could be considered the reason for the first three stats at the top of this section. 

How Senior Leaders View Communication

  • 35% of respondents believe that senior leaders in their organization are strong advocates of communications.
  • 34% of respondents believe that senior leaders in their organization are ‘on board’ with communications.
  • 22% of respondents believe that senior leaders in their organization understand the value of communications, but are not key advocate.
  • 9% of respondents believe that senior leaders in their organization do not understand the importance of communications.

The Most Important Challenges Facing Communications Team Within the Next 12 Months

  • Building an effective communications team that can meet the increasing demands from organizations with limited resources, restriction on growing budget and headcount.
  • Demonstrating the strategic value of the function.
  • Proving return on investment on digital and social media.

Biggest Challenges for the Communications Profession Over the Next 5 Years

  • The ability to leverage digital and social media channels.
  • Adapting to the speed of social media and evolving media landscape.
  • To improve the function’s reputation, justify its role and demonstrate its effectiveness.
  • Matching an organization’s expectations with the resources available.


What's your take on these stats for the state of corporate communications? 


Topics: Public Relations, Internal Communication

Iliyana Stareva

Written by Iliyana Stareva

Iliyana Stareva is the author of Inbound PR - the book that is transforming the PR industry. She's also a keynote speaker and a consultant in inbound and digital for fast-growing companies and agencies. Currently, Iliyana is Chief of Staff to the EMEA President at ServiceNow. Before that, she held global and EMEA-wide positions at Cisco and HubSpot. She is also certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional (PMP)®. In her free time, you can find Iliyana writing for her blog, dancing salsa or travelling the world.

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