Protecting reputation outweighs proactive role of in-house teams, PRCA finds

A PRCA survey has found that in-house comms teams are spending more time protecting their organisation's reputation than building awareness - and that these teams increasingly worry the rest of the organisation does not understand what comms does.

And what do you do? Over half of comms professionals said they worried the rest of their business did not know
And what do you do? Over half of comms professionals said they worried the rest of their business did not know

The In-House Benchmarking Report 2015, the fourth time the PRCA has put together this report, surveyed 166 in-house comms leaders from a variety of public, private and third sector organisations.

In total, 96 per cent of respondents said they were responsible for protecting the reputation of their organisation, slightly higher than the 93 per cent who said they had the job of building awareness.

Last year, protecting reputation was only a duty for 89 per cent of respondents, and in each of the previous three years awareness building had ranked higher than protecting reputation.

When asked what their departments' key issues were, 53 said a lack of understanding in the rest of the business of what the comms team does – up from 44 per cent last year. This poses a problem given that 51 per cent said they wanted to increase integration of comms into other departments – again up by nine percentage points since last year.

However, money worries are easing off – 39 per cent of respondents said budget was a concern, down from 49 per cent in 2014.

The survey also found that print media relations was more important than online media relations and digital comms to respondents, and that nearly half were expecting their comms team staffing level to remain the same over the next year, with a third expecting it to increase.

The survey results were launched at an event at Lansons in London last night, at which the PRCA announced the creation of a Reputation Group to explore best practice in reputation management.

Francis Ingham, director general of the PRCA, said: "Budgets are on the up, and it is clear that financial investment is less of a worry for today’s comms director. Combined with the fact that in-house teams increasingly see themselves as valued protectors of reputation, with building awareness slipping into a close second position and more representation at board level, and we’re catching a glimpse of what the comms director of tomorrow might look like."

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