A total of 113 communication directors from the UK took part in the survey. Communications directors were asked to rate their optimism or pessimism about the coming year, with 39% of respondents saying they were optimistic while 49% were quite optimistic. Only three percent said they were pessimistic, while the remainder were neutral.
Communications directors were also asked to identify three challenges that they believe will impact on Public Relations. The challenges identified were, building a brand narrative, social media and Brexit. Participants were asked to comment on the following statement “We have a strong brand narrative that we reinforce on a regular basis through our communications and marketing activity” 88% either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement. While 68% agreed they had a lot of work to do to create a compelling brand narrative.
Those surveyed were also asked about how they manage social media and digital content. More than 80% agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “we have identified and tailor all digital marketing and communications to their personas and needs”. Interestingly there was there less support for “we have a clear strategy for social media” with 72% agreeing or strongly agreeing.
Brexit looms large in the report’s findings pointing to regulatory change as key communications priority this year and beyond. While other participants indicated the need to prepare for the UK leaving the EU by building a more global profile for their business. Many have argued that Brexit negotiations, led by a weak government, have made the future uncertain. Respondents were asked their top communication challenges associated with Brexit. Some 56% who took part in the survey pointed to planning for regulatory change while 48% said knowing who to liase with in government.
While this year’s PR Week / Brands2Life report highlights confidence among UK communications directors about building compelling brand narratives, they are however aware of the challenges that lay ahead, as a result of last year’s Brexit vote.