What are the biggest communication challenges for companies in 2022?
By Helena Wennergren
Corporate communications departments juggle many different areas to ensure that their companies are perceived in the right way and meet legal requirements. These areas and tasks vary from strategic, such as communication platforms and strategies to more hands-on tasks like website development and maintenance.
In our annual Web Management Survey, we ask corporate communications professionals at large companies in Europe about their challenges ahead, priorities for the upcoming year, and their prerequisites. After a period of decreasing budgets every year, this year we see a shift: 35% of respondents say that their budgets are larger than last year, and only 2% have a smaller budget. Last year 17% had a larger budget, and 20% had a smaller budget. Is this a sign of the end of the pandemic?
Regardless of budgets, there are still challenges to be solved:
Reaching the right audiences
One of the most frequent answers to the question about their short-term challenges was “reaching the right audiences”. The number of platforms and channels is constantly increasing, and users often switch between platforms. For the respondents, the corporate website continues to be the channel that they prioritise to reach their corporate target groups, followed by press releases.
According to the survey, the most important target group for their corporate website is analysts, closely followed by institutional investors and jobseekers and socially responsible investors in a shared third place. Respondents also mention audiences such as employees and next-generation retail investors.
Regardless of who your target group is, it is essential to understand what they want and expect from you. We have described different ways of knowing who your current users are and how to learn where to best reach them in our article “Know your visitors”. You, as a company, also have a need to communicate your messages to them. An excellent way to combine these two needs is to work with core page definitions.
Illustration of a core page template
Sustainability and IR top priorities
Sustainability is another challenge for many communications departments this year. The survey also shows that Sustainability is the section most companies will focus on improving this year. As many as 69% said it was of the utmost importance this year, which is an all-time high, although Sustainability has been a top priority for many years now. This year, sustainability was also the external factor that most of the respondents said would impact their communications work.
The good news is that this effort is showing results. On average, Europe’s 500 largest companies meet 44% of the requirements from stakeholders, according to the results in Webranking by Comprend 2021-2022.
As usual, the IR section was the second most prioritised section, with 55% claiming it was a very high priority for them. Unfortunately, the results are not visible here yet. Companies only met 38% of the criteria related to IR, reporting and information about the share in last year’s Webranking. When we meet companies to discuss their results, they often say they have the information, but in the annual report. If you’ve read our previous articles, you will know that this is insufficient. See for example our article about how to get the content from your annual report to your website.
One respondent summarised the challenges as follows:
“meeting the needs of the audiences in terms of interesting and relevant content (investors and sustainability communication)”
Ways of working
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, communications departments have a wide variety of areas that they are responsible for. In many companies, only a few people work full-time with the corporate website, which also requires several areas to cover. To maintain and develop your website, it’s necessary to get help. However, website strategy and content publishing are two areas that the companies are often responsible for themselves. In contrast, they often turn to external partners for video production, visual design and website development. The level of joint work between companies and agencies has increased this year, which indicates that teamwork between them is rising.
The increased collaboration could be following the pandemic when almost everyone worked from home, and we simply had to work together digitally. In March 2020, we wrote a piece about how to do workshops online - this holds several great tips on how to collaborate that can still be useful today.
About the Web Management Survey 2022
The Webranking team at Comprend does the Web Management Survey every year. It is the starting point for the Webranking research, and in addition to sharing their challenges and prioritisations, respondents also get to list what they would like to know from their target groups in the upcoming research for Webranking.
The survey was sent to corporate communications professionals from some of the largest listed companies in Europe. 85 corporate communications directors and heads of digital from 55 companies - mainly large listed - across Europe took part in the survey this year.
Do you want to know more? Feel free to get in touch!