The qualitative survey of 141 senior comms professionals in 22 countries by Ipsos Mori’s Reputation Council found that dealing with the speed and volume of modern comms is one of the biggest challenges they face.
Respondents told Ipsos Mori that the pressure of fire-fighting caused by having to deal with a deluge of news and the lightning speed at which information travels has made it harder for them to stay on top of all the different elements of their jobs.
To make matters worse, dealing with the increased day-to-day workload caused by modern comms can come at the expense of long-term reputation building because it draws time and energy away from "proactive communications and strategic activities".
"The need to react quickly can lend itself to a short-term outlook, and there is a danger that responses lack underlying coherence or are inconsistent with overall corporate objectives," said Milorad Ajder, head of the Ipsos Mori Reputation Centre. "It is clear that there are no easy answers to the challenge of building a long-term reputation in a short term world," he added.
The study found that other difficulties involved in sustaining long-term reputation included limited resources and the growing complexity of the issues businesses face. One respondent talked of "competing agendas which inject competing levels of mistrust into the system," adding that there was also the "media filter overlay, which potentially adds more complexity and confusion".