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The 2024 State of the Media Report

Get actionable insight from 3,000+ journalists on what they truly want and need from PR teams.

The Rising Influence of PR and Comms in the C-Suite: 3 Strategies to Keep Your Seat

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In recent years, executives have increasingly sought guidance from PR and communications teams in navigating challenges such as consumer skepticism, misinformation, the 24/7 news cycle, and dynamic market shifts. Our 2024 Global Comms Report highlights this trend, with 92 percent of comms leaders acknowledging an increased demand from the C-suite for their counsel, and 41 percent reporting directly to the CEO. 

Now that PR and comms teams have rightfully claimed their seat at the table, the question is: How do you keep it?

1. Align Your Goals with Business Objectives

PR and comms teams get the best results when they share a unified definition of success with key stakeholders across critical departments like sales, marketing, operations, and finance. This alignment encourages collaboration, ensures consistent messaging, clarifies expectations, and guides meaningful focus throughout the organization. 

Once you’ve defined success in collaboration with your colleagues, you can establish key performance indicators (KPIs) for your team, making sure each measure is:

  • Aligned - What are you trying to accomplish as an organization? What does success look like, and which elements will drive progress?
  • Informed - Use current and historical performance data to set ambitious but achievable objectives for your team. 
  • Quantifiable – KPIs must be measured consistently and comprehensively to establish baselines, observe performance trends over time, and understand the impact of specific activities. 
I always say to my team, ‘If we’re not doing something that has an impact on the business, why are we doing it at all? Everything we do should be rooted in advancing one of our priorities.

(Tara Darrow, VP of Corporate and Financial Communications, Values and Reputation, and Executive Brand, T-Mobile, 2024 Global Comms Report)

2. Quantify and Spotlight the Impact of PR

Once the right KPIs are identified, the next crucial step is to measure, track, and report on your impact. However, this process comes with its own challenges as highlighted by the Global Comms Report, where 50 percent of comms leaders struggle to measure impact effectively, and only 25 percent feel confident in their tools for measurement. 

To address this struggle, evaluate your current media monitoring strategy and resources. Consider investing in a comprehensive, intuitive media monitoring platform, like CisionOne. Quality platforms go beyond standard metrics like share of voice, sentiment over time, and coverage by media type - they also incorporate advanced PR metrics such as verified views, website conversions, and demographic and firmographic data. 

With this robust information, you’ll have a deeper understanding of your target audiences, messaging resonance, brand mentions, industry trends, and competitors, as well as early brand risk identification. Since these insights are presented in an easy-to-understand, customizable format, they can be instantly transformed into executive-ready reports, helping you tell a compelling story to the C-suite.

Part of our responsibility as communicators is continuing to demonstrate increased ROI for our function — not just through firefighting, but through the unique ways we strengthen business performance.

(Brian Besanceney, Chief Communications Officer, Boeing, 2024 Global Comms Report)

3. Hone Your PR Measurement Skills

Having the right tools is essential, but the ability to analyze the data is crucial for making informed, data-driven recommendations. This reinforces your role as a strategic advisor to the C-suite. According to the Global Comms Report, 42 percent of comms teams are relying on data more this year than in previous years (that’s a significant uptick from 30 percent who said the same last year). However, 50 percent say they still struggle convert data into actionable insights. 

To make the most of your data, look for opportunities to sharpen and diversify your knowledge across high-impact capabilities such as media analytics, audience research, brand reputation monitoring, social listening, and AI applications. Continuous development of these skills through conferences, webinars, and mentorship is key to enhancing credibility and adding value to your counsel. 

PR’s increasing reliance on data and analytics is a clear indication of a significant transformation. This evolution will ultimately make PR and corporate comms teams more effective at their jobs, as they derive a better understanding of who their audiences actually are, what matters most to them and how to deliver that in a streamlined, memorable way.

(Sarah O’Grady, SVP of Marketing, Cision and Brandwatch, 2024 Global Comms Report)

Keeping Your Seat

Your seat at the table is an opportunity to lead, shape, and redefine the narrative of your organization's success. Your influence is not just earned - it's perpetually earned and reinforced through strategic alignment, impact measurement, and a commitment to skill development. 

Interested to see how over 400 of your peers are maintaining their strategic influence? Download the 2024 Global Comms Report to find out how others are leveraging data, technology, social media, content, and more to inform their strategies - and see where you can apply it to your own approach.  

To find out how Cision’s suite of solutions can help you keep your seat in 2024, speak with an expert.

About Amy O'Connell
About Amy O'Connell

Amy O'Connell is the Global Content and Experience Producer at Cision. She is a skilled marketing and communications professional with over 15 years of experience across various industries.