B-M releases study

NEW YORK: A recent Burson-Marsteller survey shows a disparity between the global concerns of business leaders and the public.

NEW YORK: A recent Burson-Marsteller survey shows a disparity between the global concerns of business leaders and the public.

The Global Issues Index, released December 4, shows healthcare costs, food costs, and identity theft were of greatest concern to the worldwide public. Identity theft topped the list in the US.

"They represent personal safety and security," said Ame Wadler, chief strategic officer at Burson. "It speaks to what [the public is] facing every day when looking into the faces of their families."

For business leaders, the three biggest stressors are tech costs, affordability of technology to remain competitive, and hackers, showing business leaders are grappling with how to best use technology while mitigating risk.

"Business leaders can better align their investments to match public interest," according to the index. In doing so, companies have the chance to foster better relationships. But first, they must think outside of their own goals towards identifying what concerns their constituents. Doing so, Burson's research asserted, will make companies better equipped to implement and promote programs that address relevant issues.

"I'd love to see some [CSR] programs expanded to address the day-to-day concerns of the public," said Wadler.

Many companies are using CSR measures to address issues that concern the public, but they still aren't promoting their good works, a missed opportunity for companies and their PR firms.

While media coverage remains key for highlighting response to issues, the index suggests companies also employ word-of-mouth campaigns. Also suggested was that companies should think beyond their business functions and implement campaigns outside of their comfort zone, provided they assist important constituents.

The survey was conducted in August and November. Nearly 4,500 people from nine countries were asked for their opinions on about 150 issues.

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