Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Burghardt Tenderich, Ph.D., associate professor and associate director of the Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Burghardt manages the development of the biennial Generally Accepted Best Practices for Public Relations study, which assesses the scope of the public relations industry.
Corporate public relations budgets are mostly up, and the scope of the profession is experiencing growth in areas such as internal communication, customer relations and social media. These are some of the findings of a new study published by the USC Annenberg Strategic Communication and Public Relations Center.
GAP VII, the seventh biennial Generally Accepted Best Practices for Public Relations, shows some of the most significant findings in the area of measurement and evaluation: On average, corporations now spend 9 percent of their total PR budget on research-related activities, a sharp incline from 4 percent in the previous GAP study. This pronounced rise speaks to widespread adoption of social media monitoring tools and increasing use of primary research in program planning and evaluation.
The GAP VII research team, led by Jerry Swerling, Kjerstin Thorson and me, surveyed 620 senior public relations practitioners. This makes GAP VII the largest and most comprehensive study ever of the most senior communicators in public and private corporations, government agencies and non-profits in the United States. USC Annenberg conducted the study in cooperation with PRSA and other professional associations: Arthur W. Page Society, Institute for Public Relations and International Association of Business Communicators.
GAP VII aims to provide PR practitioners with actionable information they can use to better manage the communication functions in their organizations; identifies best practices against which they can benchmark their own organizations; and pinpoints trends to be aware of as they plan for tomorrow.