Finsbury: CEOs understand the value of PR, but not how to apply it

Only 16% of CEOs surveyed said their companies have a dedicated chief communications officer in place.

NEW YORK: Although most CEOs understand and appreciate the value corporate communications can bring to their company, a global study has found that few have the proper applications and people in place to benefit from that value.

Finsbury commissioned client Gerson Lehrman Group to conduct a survey of 102 current and former CEOs of companies around the globe in June to get their opinions on the state of corporate communications. This is the first study Finsbury has conducted, said Ed Adler, a partner at the firm.

The report found that 91% of the participating CEOs consider communications to have a significant impact on the abilities of their companies to meet business goals. Meanwhile, 82% of those surveyed said their management teams pay close attention to media coverage of their companies. In addition, 80% said they believe good relations with the press should be a priority.

However, only 16% of respondents said their companies have a dedicated CCO in place. The study also found that 33% meet with reporters five or more times a year; and only 28% engage in programs to build and support the reputation of the CEO.

"CEOs should definitely give the CCO a seat at the table, and definitely develop relationships with the media," said Adler. "In a world where social media is taking prominence, it is still important to have relationships with journalists."

Finsbury is launching its CEO positioning practice on Thursday, with the goal of giving strategic comms advice to chief executives who are stepping into a new role, managing a crisis while rolling out a deal, or handling an IPO, among other challenges.

Finsbury CEO Michael Gross is leading the unit.

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