The Expanding Role of Communications

"The Expanding Role of Communications" in white text over top of a vintage metal telephone and a navy and teal leaf pattern.

We’ve always known how important marketing and PR are for companies. Sometimes businesses need a bit of convincing in understanding the value, but in the last 16 months or so, the value has become painfully clear. Communicators jumped in to begin developing and distributing messaging on new policies, whether internal or external, as companies grappled with the pandemic.

This also resulted in stronger cross-departmental collaborations, with marketing folks coordinating efforts with HR, finance, and in some cases, workplace wellness. 

Ragan’s Annual Communications Benchmark Report shares a deep dive into the data and trends which will shape the communications field for years to come.

We all know the changes that happened due to the pandemic, but what will carry over for the future of the industry? Here is a peek at what we can expect.

  • Remote or flexible work will become a permanent part of company culture. We have a podcast coming out on this very subject next week. Companies may fight this trend, but at the end of the day, this is one fight they won’t win. This will result in an increased focus and need to communicate with remote workers. 
  • Communicators now belong where strategic decisions are being made. 20% of respondents indicated they now have direct access to the CEO. Apparently, a global pandemic will do that for you. Marketers have demonstrated how important they are to organizational dynamics, and we can only hope this trend will continue. 
  • Crisis communication plans are now standard operating procedure. 46% of respondents had no plan in 2020. Allow us to get on our soapbox for one moment. Every single company should have a crisis plan detailing out key contacts, messaging, response time and more. You should never be reactive to a crisis. Never.
  • And to no surprise to anyone—virtual communication is here to stay! 40% of communicators believe it will continue to drive change in the next three to five years, with artificial intelligence becoming key in the following years.
  • With communicator roles now being viewed as essential to companies, there are multiple hurdles to overcome, such as lack of staff, budget and lots and lots of distractions. To summarize, you’re there when needed, but companies are also not going to give you the resources you need to be successful. Cool. Cool.

If we can provide companies with some advice:

  • Invest in the development of a crisis communication plan.
  • Work with your marketing and HR team on the development of an internal communication plan. There is no “going back to normal.” This is normal, and you need to adapt for the well-being of your company. 
  • Set aside money for marketing. It should be 15% of your overall operating budget. Marketing supports internal and external communication and can be the difference between success and failure.

If you need us, you know where to find us.

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