USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations (CPR)
Corporate communication has become more relevant than ever given the various threats faced by the businesses and the large amount of (dis)information easily available in various media platforms. The Setting section of the current issue of ‘the Hub’ brings insights from the annual study by the USC Annenberg Centre for Public Relations titled as “The Future of Corporate Activism”. The report has analyzed various challenges and opportunities of corporate activism being faced by socially conscious communicators in the US, but equally applies to other jurisdictions.
COVID-19 has emerged as a major threat for businesses globally disrupting various operations. Consumers, investors, employees and other stakeholders are now more conscious about the various social aspects of any business. Corporate communication is the frontline of defense for any business to deal with such challenges.
As per the report, societal discord and political instability have moved up the corporate agenda because various stakeholders expect companies to take stand on such issues. On the other hand, speaking out in current culture of divisiveness has reputational risk for brands. Many organisations have developed a playbook for dealing with controversial topics.
Businesses have responded that COVID-19 (49%), access to talent (38%) and political instability (29%) are the top concerns for the coming years. More than 75% feel that increasing polarisation in the society is a challenge for corporate communication as there is always a risk of alienating certain section of people. Partisan media outlet, social media platforms and politicians (both right and left) are the major contributors for the polarisation. A large number of respondents feel that businesses have an important role on communicating on such issues and bringing down the level of polarisation and are of the opinion that businesses will improve their public engagement on such social issues in the near future. Gender equality and climate change were the top issues where such engagement is expected to increase.
PR professionals are using corporate purpose to support the corporate activism campaigns as this is deemed to be critical for long term success. Respondents feel that an effective purpose campaign must be authentic, long-term and action- oriented. It also should be relevant to customers and engaging with employees.
The findings are based on the survey which encompasses 1,600 responses from communication professionals, journalists, educators and students based on convenience sampling during January-February 2022.
We duly acknowledge USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations for this note based on their study with the same title.
Your password has been successfully updated! Please login with your new password
The link is unavailable for your login. Please empanel with the ID Databank to access this feature. For more information, email email@example.com or call 1-800-102-3145.