Corporate PR execs see new media as weak link

NEW YORK: Corporate communications executives are confident about the strength of their organization's core values, but still see obstacles in employing new media, according to a recent survey conducted by the Arthur W. Page Society and the Corporate Executive Board (CEB).

NEW YORK: Corporate communications executives are confident about the strength of their organization's core values, but still see obstacles in employing new media, according to a recent survey conducted by the Arthur W. Page Society and the Corporate Executive Board (CEB).

Nearly 68% of respondents said that their company's values are crucial to most employees; about 48% said their values are central to employee behavior "regardless of competing pressures"; and more than 55% said the same about managerial behavior.

"Values are the anchor for decisions that are made within a company," said Tom Nicholson, executive director of Page Society. "Values serve as a guide for the decisions that you have to make on a daily basis [that are] often not made by people in the executive suite. They're more inclined to make the right decision if they can lean on the corporate DNA."

New media remains a hurdle. Nearly 42% said they have incorporated limited use of new media in their communications. The top reasons identified were resistance from the legal department, lack of ROI, lack of expertise, and the fact that new media is too labor-intensive.

"Simple oversight monitoring and agreements with users [are things] that we've seen success in making [general counsel] pull back a little bit," said Eric Braun, MD for the CEB.

Among other findings, almost 62% said they consistently coordinate outreach and messaging across stakeholder groups. Also, nearly 35% said they consistently measure trust within certain stakeholder groups, although many respondents said they do not measure trust or are hindered from measuring it.

The survey highlighted four key topics that were pinpointed in the Page Society's white paper, The Authentic Enterprise, as areas where corporations could take immediate action: embedding values, managing issues across multiple stakeholders, monitoring trust in the company, and embracing new media.

More than 30 chief communications officers, who are also corporate members of the Page Society, responded to the survey, which was conducted online between February and March 2008.

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