Survey says brand building is priority

Brand awareness trumps sales and conversion for campaigns finds new corporate communications survey

Enhancing brand influence is more important than sales growth and conversion in campaigns for more than half of businesses in the region, according to the inaugural PR Newswire Asia-Pacific Corporate Communications Report.

And to optimise brand awareness, 70 per cent of businesses prioritise news sites as the most important communications channel, which surpasses other platforms such as corporate websites, print media and social media.

When it comes to core communications channels for Australian-based businesses, the top choice is news websites, followed by print and then TV. Locally, measuring the impact of communications was found to be the core challenge in Australia, ahead of production and selecting the right communications channels, for almost 70 per cent of respondents. 

Despite the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, this year 37 per cent of businesses plan to increase their earned media budget, with larger businesses with over 1,000 staff showing a greater willingness to do so compared to their smaller counterparts. Any extra budget is likely to go to earned media first and then owned media, with paid media budget least likely to increase. 

The report also identified the top three communications challenges in 2020: Content production, and producing diversified content for various channels, such as social media and owned media; measuring the impact of communications by tracking branding and sales conversion; and budget constraints, including copyright for sourced materials, cost of productions and campaigns.

The challenge of maintaining trust and audience engagement shows the greatest variation across markets, which 45 per cent of businesses in Australia cite as a challenge, along with 69 per cent of those in Vietnam and 28 per cent in South Korea. However, keeping trust and engagement shows a significant difference between B2B and B2C businesses, with 60 per cent of consumer businesses ranking maintaining trust and audience engagement as a challenge, compared with just 32 per cent of B2B businesses.

Content discussions are happening in the c-suite, with the survey finding 93 per cent of c-level executives participating in these discussions. The most common topics in corporate press releases are events, followed by new products/services, industry perspectives and award announcements.

Finally, when it comes to finding the secret ingredient for business communications, corporate news should latch onto subjects relevant to ‘the bigger picture’ in a market to win journalists’ attention and get recommended by news websites’ algorithms, and authenticity, relevance and transparency are increasingly important.

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