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5 Key Takeaways from Cision & PRWeek’s 2020 Comms Report


The role of PR has risen up to the challenge of establishing itself as a trusted advisor to top management in 2020. In a challenging year, more PR professionals are working more closely with their CEOs, who have sought their counsel and perspectives before making business decisions. 

That was one of the key findings from the 2020 Comms Report by Cision and PR Week. The fourth annual report surveyed more than 300 senior-level PR professionals, from both agencies and in-house, in the United States. The report also reveals how PR is up to the task of facing old and new obstacles and opportunities, such as tech adoption and proving ROI, and the most effective channels and influencers that impact consumer behaviour. These trends will pave the outlook for the PR industry to tackle a bumpy road to 2021.

We highlight some key takeaways from the report before you dive into the full report.

1. Comms is establishing its seat at the C-suite table, especially after COVID-19

Cision & PRWeek Comms Report 2020 - PR Newswire 2020 Comms Trends

PR has risen up to the challenges of providing increasingly sought-after counsel by top management in companies. According to the report, 85% of respondents said that C-suite executives wanted to hear from the comms perspective even more after COVID-19 hit. Dealing with multiple global uncertainties such as economic downturn and global supply chain disruption, CEOs understand that they need to consult their comms professionals to help clarify and communicate brand values before making major business decisions. 

This is helped by the fact that more PR pros believe that the comms industry can effectively measure and prove the impact of their work on business performance – although they add that the industry still has a long way to go in this department.

2. More budget is allocated to PR monitoring and measurement

Each year the report asked respondents to indicate how much of their annual budget went to measuring/monitoring/understanding the impact of their comms program.

In 2017, 22% of U.S. respondents said 10% or more of their budget went to this. This year, 31.3% of U.S. respondents said 10% or more. That marks a pretty decent jump in just three years and it’s meaningful to the measurement discipline. 

3. Employees play a more critical role in influencing consumer purchasing behavior

Cision & PRWeek Comms Report 2020 - PR Newswire 2020 Comms Trends

One notable change in this year’s results is how employees have catapulted up the list of most effective influencers, while celebrity endorsements continued to dip. More than half (56%) of respondents include employees among their top 4 influencers that impacted consumer behavior. One of the key reasons is that employees bring a high level of authenticity to their comments, while too many celebrities are putting out the same messages that are not so substantial. 

4. COVID-19 has impacted the content production process

Given the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, close to half of the respondents have had to adapt the tone of their content to better fit the current societal realities.

Other notable changes in the content creation process spurred by the pandemic include increased engagement with their audiences, experimenting with new platforms and collaborating with other creative disciplines. Respondents also indicated a greater reliance on information from social media posts, blog posts and videos that are produced by brands since the start of COVID-19.


READ MORE: 5 Steps to Developing an Effective Communications Plan


5. LinkedIn overtakes Facebook as the most important social media platform for the content strategy of brands 

Cision & PRWeek Comms Report 2020 - PR Newswire 2020 Comms Trends

Close to one-quarter of communicators indicated that LinkedIn is the most important social media platform as part of their broader content strategy plan – an increase from 19% in 2019. PR agencies placed more importance on using LinkedIn than Facebook, while it is evenly split between Facebook and LinkedIn for their in-house counterparts. 


Cision & PRWeek Comms Report 2020 - PR Newswire 2020 Comms Trends
Cision and PRWeek’s 2020 Comms Report reveals the old and new obstacles the PR industry is facing, and how once more PR is rising to the challenge while proving its worth to the C-suite and on the bottom line. Download the report to get the full findings.



This blog post is written by Kenneth Goh, Senior Marketing Executive at PR Newswire. A former journalist, he relishes keeping track of breaking news as much as telling stories with trends and data. Connect with him via Linkedin.