LONDON--42 per cent of leading communications heads believe the visibility of public relations at a senior level is increasing.

The findings come from the latest Grayling Pulse study, which pollsed more than 1,100 communications and marketing directors.

Just six percent said that senior-level visibility is decreasing, while 46 percent said it stayed the same.

The perceived value of communications also appears to be rising. Almost half of respondents (49.5 percent) saw an increase in this metric, compared to six percent that saw a decrease.

The study also found that just 20 percent of respondents see global PR investment increasing, 19 percent who recorded a decrease, and 42 percent who said it stayed the same.

In addition, 22 percent of leading communications heads who responded admit that their organisations have no social media strategy.

Of the companies that do have a social media strategy, only 39 per cent say that it is integrated with their broader communications strategy. 

Globally, only 23 per cent of CEOs participate personally in company social media - via a blog, Twitter or other platform – and 44 per cent of CEOs have no involvement at all in their company’s social media presence.

The two most common objectives for a company’s digital strategy are ‘improved reputation’ (21.4 per cent) and ‘awareness’ (22.1 per cent).

‘Increase in sales’ was reported as a driver by 11 per cent of respondents and ‘customer service’ by just 10 per cent.

However, social media is the major driver behind PR investment, 43.5 percent of those polled recording an increase, compared to 24.2 percent in corporate comms/reputation management, and 16 percent in CSR.

The technology, media and telecommunications sector leads the way in terms of social media adoption - with 83 per cent having a digital strategy, compared to just 60 per cent in the transport, automotive and logistics sector, and 68 per cent in the consumer and retail sector.

Seventy eight per cent of Western European-located companies who responded to the survey have a digital strategy compared to only 61.3 per cent of companies in CEE and Eurasia.

“The chasm between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ has grown increasingly wider in 2012," says Grayling social media head Victor Benady. "It seems remarkable that 22 per cent  of  the companies we surveyed have no social media strategy whatsoever whilst at the opposite end of the scale 71 per cent  have a strategy and are getting under the skin of the reputational challenges of social media."

"What does that mean for the ‘have nots’? Only time will tell if their lack of digital voice will negatively impact on their business but why are they even waiting to find out? It seems like a huge risk to take.”