Today Corporate Excellence attended the presentation of the European Communication Monitor 2014 published by the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA), the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD), Dircom Association of Communication Directors, and Ketchum, which sponsored the study’s publication in Europe.
As we have told our readers before, the European Communication Monitor is an in-depth analysis of practices and trends used by communications professionals in Europe. The study is published for the eighth consecutive year and draws on a sample of 2,777 senior professionals from 42 countries. Ketchum’s CEO Jose Ramón Caso opened the presentation with an introduction to the study’s key insights: “Over the last few years, online communication has passed through three stages of evolution: from static websites used as channels for one-way messages, through social media platforms to the basis of mobile communication. Mobile communication is still at its nascent phase. Smart brands and organisations may use this opportunity to implement new ways of reaching out to their customers”.
Sebastián Cebrián, Dircom’s General Director, emphasised the importance of the European Communication Monitor because “its reflects the reality, the profession’s evolution and sets trends and patterns”. Cebrián’s address focused on two relevant aspects of communication management’s development: mentoring and networking. According to ECM 2014, intelligent use of one’s network is a fundamental tool for achieving business and communication objectives in organisations.
Alfonso González Herrero, EACD’s Coordinator for Spain, said that “in the course of the coming years, the most innovative steps in the field of mobile technologies will have more to do with applications than with mobile devices that store them. Organisations – and their communications departments – should do the same as individuals, integrating mobiles in all spheres of their lives. Since a company’s capacity to adopt mobile technologies will determine its survival, communications departments should promote applications that strengthen relations with the stakeholders by using mobile devices, drawing a clear line in the way of understanding the purpose of our profession. It’s not about opening new channels for the dialogue, but about creating applications that transform the way a company relates to its stakeholders. Mobile technologies are undergoing a revolution comparable to the one brought about by the Internet”.
ECM, the most comprehensive study of communication internationally, shows that the reach of mobile communication channels will have doubled by 2017. According to Ángeles Moreno, Lecturer at Juan Carlos I University and coordinator of the study in Spain, as long as social media platforms are integrated into the communication strategy, mobile communication is focused on the interaction with the consumer in real time and on visual content – an area characterized by the fastest growth in the sector.
51.5% of respondents claim that their organisations have mobile communication channels in place, while more than 90% believe that these channels will develop and be implemented exponentially over the next three years. Interestingly, mobile communication is among the few communication areas, where opinions of professionals from different European countries coincide.
Key opportunities provided by mobile communication are the following: immediate contact with stakeholders at any time (59.5%), a creation of easy-to-share content (53.7%), greater possibility to reach a younger audience (40.4%). Key challenges created by these new tools are “integration of the mobile media into other channels and platforms (57.9%), finding meaningful concepts that generate added value (47.3%) and adjusting complex content to smaller screens (45.9%)”.
The report also points to the fact that the relevance of the social media has passed its peak. The issue of “digital evolution and the social web” topped the relevance list from 2010 to 2012, and came only third this year, conceding leadership to “linking up business strategy with communication” and “securing the trust of our target audiences”. Respondents also refer to the importance of “interaction with the customers (86.6%) and giving customers an opportunity to discuss their experience (72.5%)” as the key areas of applying social media tools.
Finally, Jose Ramón Caso and Ángeles Moreno presented some conclusions of another report, Com-GAP, developed parallel to ECM and focused on the analysis of public opinion and perception of leadership and the social media. The report demonstrates “a significant difference between what people want from leaders, and what is promoted by communications departments”. According to the report, instead of competent management of a potential crisis online, users are more interested in the promotion of services as well as information about the origin and launch of new products.
Speakers agreed and emphasised that communication is the task not only of the communications manager. Communication should be considered by the organisation as a strategic and integrating factor. Studies also show that communication and public relations are a social science that requires in-depth research, analysis and management.
Corporate Excellence closely follows the changes demonstrated every year by EACD in its Communication Monitor. We encourage our readers to follow suit and read this year’s issue.