Strategic Communicators Have More Influence to Drive Business Growth

A new report examines opportunities and challenges for PR pros, including Gen AI adoption, influence in the C-suite, and budget constraints.

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  • [Image source: Anvita Gupta/MITSMR Middle East]

    Today, PR and comms professionals face increased challenges and opportunities amid increased pressure to prove impact, more sophisticated data and analytics, emerging technologies like AI, shifting consumer behaviors, and a complex media landscape, 

    Highlighting the evolving role of strategic communicators as business drivers, Cision’s 2024 Global Comms Report: Elevating & Evolving finds the growing role of – and dependencies on – PR and corporate communications teams within the C-suite. 

    Nearly half (41%) of senior-most communications leaders report to the CEO directly, and a remarkable 92% say their C-suite sought their counsel more often last year than in years prior, up from 87% who said the same in 2021. With this level of influence comes greater expectations of how communicators can impact the bottom line. 

    PR and comms teams indicated feeling increased pressure to play a key role in moving the needle on business factors such as revenue, share of voice, and overall brand equity. When asked to name the factors they consider CEOs’ biggest priorities for comms, nearly two-thirds (60%) of respondents cited “building sustainable growth and value,” an increase of 6 percentage points from just a year ago. 

    Other priorities include the ability to respond promptly to changing marketplace dynamics and opportunities (55%), customer acquisition/engagement (43%), and driving sales/revenue (42%).

    “Strategic communicators have more than proven their value to the C-suite and have earned a seat at the table when it comes to influencing strategy and driving business outcomes,” said Carrie Parker, Chief Marketing Officer at Cision. “High-performing PR and Comms teams are aligning their arsenal of tools and expertise with organizational goals to drive transformative change.”

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    Experimenting With Gen AI 

    The majority of PR and comms professionals (65%) have started experimenting with generative AI for things like content creation, press release writing, and audience research; however, the degree of adoption varies, with 32% of comms teams describing their usage as “frequent,” and 33% saying it is “infrequent.” The rest are only in the consideration stages of experimentation (27%), unlikely to use them at all (7%), or unsure about their plans (1%).

    Identifying Influence 

    Everyday consumers are considered the most effective influencers, as brands look beyond celebrities to boost awareness and enhance sales.

    Need for Reliable Data 

    Comms professionals are increasingly focused on measurement, with 42% saying they rely on data and analytics – up from 30% who said the same last year.

    Social Media Dominance

    Reliance on earned (53%) and paid (46%) segments has increased yearly.

    Keen to know how emerging technologies will impact your industry? MIT SMR Middle East will be hosting the second edition of NextTech Summit.


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