Despite the opportunities being presented by the explosion of social media, more than two-thirds of chief communications officers say they’re not doing enough to drive innovation within their own organizations, according to a survey conducted by public relations management consulting firm PulsePoint Group.
The survey found that as CEOs emphasize innovation as an essential way to survive and grow in a difficult economy, the burgeoning use of social media provides extensive opportunities for communication departments to engage with customers, potential customers, and other stakeholders. But not enough communications departments are driving the innovation necessary to exploit those opportunities, partly because their organizations haven’t acquired the necessary digital competencies. That leaves a gap that may ultimately be filled by talented people from elsewhere in the company.
The survey, Corporate Communication Index 2010, reported findings from nearly a quarter of the Fortune 100’s CCOs. According to the report, nearly 90 percent of those surveyed reported that innovation is a primary corporate focus for the next three-five years, yet two-thirds of CCOs report that their function is moderately active or less so in driving innovation in the organization.
At the same time, the report says, communicators can embrace change at the enterprise or even the function level as an opportunity to remain high-value service providers and to develop innovative solutions.
In particular, the report finds, the explosive growth of social media, and the lack of clarity within many organizations over how to exploit it and over who is in charge of it, provide huge opportunities for communication organizations.
Beyond social media, comms organizations will be focusing on four other key areas next year: crisis communication; reputation management; internal communications and marketing support.
To seize the opportunities in all those functions, the development of digital expertise will be crucial, the report finds.
“At a time of continuing uncertainty and anxiety in the business community, we think this is a revealing window into where the leaders in the field are headed,” says PulsePoint Group partner Bob Feldman. “The need to innovate is a core imperative that is even more important in tough times, and the emergence of social media is giving it a whole new dimension with incredible opportunities—but only for the people who are prepared to grab them.”