Two in ten executives do not understand what the initials PR stand for while almost four in ten do not have a good understanding of what the function does within their business, according to a new report.
And only three in ten C-suite executives believe the communications function delivers ‘good value’ for their business.
The report How executives in large companies perceive PR, surveyed more than 300 senior managers outside the communications function on behalf of PR platform Releasd, suggests confusion affects all levels of management and stretches across business divisions, although at varying degrees.
One in ten corporate executives and one in five senior managers do not understand the term PR, while 30 per cent of executives in production and 16 per cent of those in customer-facing positions are similarly confused.
The situation does not improve when managers are quizzed on their understanding of what a communications function does. Almost half - 44 per cent - of senior managers and 38 per cent of directors said they did not have a good understanding.
Similarly, directors working in larger companies, which may have a wide geographical reach or be structured in silos, do not understand the role of PR as well as their contemporaries working in smaller businesses.
However, the report finds that there is a link between an executive’s understanding of communications and the amount of value they perceive it contributes to their organisation. Eight in ten executives who had a good understanding of PR also believed it delivered good value to the business.
But it argues that if communications is to better demonstrate the value of its work, it must work harder to help executives at all levels to understand what it can achieve.