Survey: New Jersey’s C-Suite Sees Greater Value in PR but Admits to Not Fully Understanding It

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By Tiffany Miller, Account Director, R&J Public Relations

Leave it to New Jersey to complicate things.

According to a recent “Business Case for PR” survey, conducted by Wakefield Research in conjunction with the Public Relations Society of America New Jersey Chapter, 43 percent of C-level execs expect higher PR spending in 2015. While the opportunity is real, so is the struggle in the Garden State. The survey reports that C-suite executives in New Jersey understand that their Public Relations teams are critical to building and maintaining their corporate reputations, yet more than half (59 percent) do not fully understand the role and capabilities of PR.

So what do execs value when it comes to PR? 85% of respondents cited reputation building as their top PR objective, while 82% were focused on increasing brand awareness.

Understanding what your clients’ objectives are is critical in demonstrating value. As PR professionals we must align our goals and strategies with our clients’ objectives and effectively communicate our progress in achieving PR goals for key stakeholders. We often forget that our clients may not completely understand our industry the way that we are required to understand theirs. This notion makes it essential to educate our clients, set expectations, share successes and challenges and find new ways to add value. Keeping an open dialogue with clients will help to build overall relationships and create opportunities to educate stakeholders.

Having stakeholders that are educated on the PR process and program can be invaluable. As an industry overall, we have made strides in gaining advocates who truly see and understand the value of PR. In fact, 74% of executives surveyed cited the reason for increasing budgets is because they are seeing a greater value in PR, and 64% of participants said that they would support increased investments in PR if goals and strategies were more clearly defined.

So maybe it isn’t as complicated as it as it seems. Just like a successful Public Relations campaign, achieving results takes time. If we take the time to build strong strategies that support our clients’ goals, and commit to taking the time to educating stakeholders on the process, we’ll build long-term, valuable relationships.

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