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In a recent editorial in The New York Times, the author calls attention to how during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDC failed to follow its own recommendations outlined in a crisis communications pamphlet: Be first, right and credible, and avoid mixed messaging, delays and confusion.

If a mammoth organization like the CDC has struggled with clear and effective communications during the pandemic, imagine the challenges other companies have faced. Frankly, few communicators haven’t experienced at least one challenge in the past 18 months.

While little can be gained from debating where the CDC succeeded and fell short with their communications, the events that followed brought a critical factor to light: Being clear and timely with internal and external communications will continue to grow in importance for the foreseeable future.

The role of communications professionals has never been more essential. (We can all do a happy dance because we’ve been preaching for YEARS about why communicators deserve a seat at the decision-making table!)

The results of the 2021 JOTW Strategic Communications Survey support this statement. In the fourth annual survey of communications professionals, 80% “agreed” or “strongly agreed” their organizations now place a greater value on communications.

With the worth of our work more recognized than ever, communicators have the opportunity to demonstrate value beyond some of the more traditional PR tactics like building brand awareness and securing media coverage.

Simply put – we’re capable of so much more than being a company’s publicist. 

Here are a few other notable results from the study:

  • When asked about specific functions, respondents overwhelmingly said employee communications (93%) grew in importance compared to pre-pandemic times.
  • More than half (54%) think more work will be shipped to outside agencies to relieve the pressure.
  • 40% of people said “too many priorities” is a top challenge. (This is why having a trusted team of partners in place will help!)
  • 60% say media relations is harder or much harder compared to last year.

That last data point proves what we’ve been championing for years at Franco: You need to build an integrated communications program where media is part of the program – not the entire program.

So much to think about, right?

For as [insert adjective of choice] the world has been since March 2020, there have been some silver linings, and I would add the increased value of communications to that list.

At Franco, we’ve had the privilege of serving as true partners to our clients as they’ve waded through these messy waters – everything from preparing internal communications from executives, to writing communications to parents from school administrators, to helping a B2B client completely shift its content strategy to help its customers not close their doors during the pandemic.

If you’d like to learn more about how a strategic and integrated communications program – built on the foundation of clear, concise and motivate-you-to-act messaging – can support your business goals and guide you through changes in your business and industry, let’s connect.

Nikki Little is Franco’s VP. Connect with her on LinkedIn.