Editorial: Our survey finds PR is CEO priority

The popular conception is that CEOs don't really 'get' PR. Based on the PRWeek/Burson-Marsteller CEO Survey 2000, however, it's clear CEOs 'get' PR far more than is credited (see page 21).

The popular conception is that CEOs don't really 'get' PR. Based on the PRWeek/Burson-Marsteller CEO Survey 2000, however, it's clear CEOs 'get' PR far more than is credited (see page 21).

The popular conception is that CEOs don't really 'get' PR. Based on the PRWeek/Burson-Marsteller CEO Survey 2000, however, it's clear CEOs 'get' PR far more than is credited (see page 21).

To wit. More than two thirds of CEOs believe company reputation to be the most valuable asset that a company can have - yes, even more important than earnings. And in managing reputation, to whom do they turn? More than half of all CEOs would turn first to a PR expert. (Among larger corporations, the percentage in both cases is higher still.)

Another common cry is that the role of PR as a brand awareness and sales tool is tokenist. That's not how CEOs see it: 75% believe it's very important or important. Even in moving that most elusive of indicators, the stock price, 54% see an important role for PR.

But it's in terms of the Internet that the CEO's increasingly sophisticated understanding of PR is most clearly shown. When asked, 'which scares you most as a source of gossip, rumor and falsehoods,' CEOs expressed almost as much concern about chatrooms (39%) as they did about traditional media (41%) - proof that PR practitioners need to pay more attention to monitoring the Web.

It is also significant that a Web site is seen as the most important crisis PR tool (35%), almost as often as traditional media (45%).

Of course, there is still evidence of an old-school mentality among some CEOs. For example, 20% would choose to rely on advertising as their main outlet in a crisis (this same 20%, interestingly, is far more paranoid about traditional media, and less informed about the help that the Internet can provide).

But if your client/boss is among those who demonstrate a rather less sophisticated view of PR, may we suggest that you run a couple of choice statistics from this survey past them.



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