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European Communication Monitor 2007

18 Haziran 2011 , Cumartesi 12:00
European Communication Monitor 2007

The field of public relations is growing significantly throughout Europe. Professionals working in
communication departments and agencies expect a 14% growth of budgets and many new jobs in 2008. However, the framework for communication management is changing rapidly. Both the dominant fields of practice and relevant instruments used to contact stakeholders will be redefined during the next years. Practitioners are asked to identify those developments and deal with the odds and challenges that affect their daily business in the information society.

Valuable insights into the evolution of Public Relations in Europe
The European Communication Monitor 2007 is the first transnational survey on future trends in
communication management and public relations in Europe. It is an international research project serving solely academic purposes, supported by the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (Euprera), a network of leading scholars from more than 30 countries, and conducted by a research team from the Universities of Leipzig, Amsterdam, Bucharest, Llubljana and the Stockholm School of Economics, led by Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfass, Germany.

Based on a sample of 1,087 professionals from 22 countries with a thorough level of experience (average age 41.3 years, every second with more than 10 years of experience in the field), this research lays a solid ground for identifying major developments in communication management and public relations. However, as there is no knowledge about the population of communication departments and agencies in Europe, the findings presented here can not claim representativeness. Personal invitations for the online survey have been sent to more than 20,000 professionals throughout Europe via e-mail in April and May 2007. Additional invitations were made via national branch associations, executive education programs and press releases (partly self-recruiting). Statistical analysis has been used to reveal significant differences between various groups of respondents (communication departments vs. agencies, B2B vs. B2C, age groups, …) and to stimulate discussion about different segments of the market. As the use of professional terminology and PR practice has been considered rather standardized throughout Europe, national specific aspects were not taken into account. Moreover, respondents have been considered proficient users of English language; therefore it was assumed that no ambiguity was related to language issues.

New weight of disciplines within communication management

An analysis of the various disciplines within communication management shows that marketing/brand and consumer communication, corporate communication and crisis/issues management are the most important fields of practice nowadays. However, corporate communication will gain in importance and be number one until 2010. Internal/change Communication and community relations/CSR are the fastestgrowing disciplines.

Thinking of the channels and instruments, it becomes clear that public relations goes online at a very

Comparisions between the answers from agencies and communication departments show that consultants underestimate the value of personal and nonverbal communication. They tend to think in terms of media production and neglect the chances of direct interactions. On the contrary, companies are less convinced by social media and sponsoring.

Addressing tomorrow`s customers, co-workers and opinion leaders

Public relations needs a complete new set of instruments and competencies to reach young people. Online communication, social media and mobile channels are most effective. High-end technological platforms have to be complemented by real-life interactions, which may be enabled by personal communication and events. This offers great opportunities for crossmedia concepts and word-of-mouth campaigns. Todays’ routines in communication management which are focused on using print media and TV/Radio as multipliers may look outdated very soon. Less than 20% of the respondents think that print media are effective to communicate with the young generation.

A new agenda for communication management and public relations in Europe

The survey tried to identify those issues that will become most relevant until 2010. Unanimously, three three major challenges showed up: coping with the digital evolution, linking business strategies and communication, and maintaining trust. Nearly every second questioned gives top priority to those issues within the next three years.

On a broader scale, the most important issue to be dealt with is the intertwinning complex of social change, that brings about active audiences and the quest for more transparency, and the rise of truly interactive communication on the web, which brings about new configurations of symmetry and power. Communication controlling is a major challenge for the profession, combining two strongly linked aspects: advancing communication strategies by establishing value links to corporate strategy, and implementing trusted methods and performance indicators for communication measures.

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