Germany Ahead of UK in Communications

One of the largest international strategic communication survey in the world shows that UK businesses are lagging behind some of their key competitors when it comes to communicating with European neighbours. The Ketchum-sponsored survey finds that nearly a third of UK businesses fail to see communication with Euro’ markets as important and, therefore, only 46% report that their organization has solid structures in place for international communication.

These findings come against a backdrop of widespread recognition that international communication is now more important than ever. In the survey 72.5 per cent of more than 2,700 communication professionals polled in 43 countries by a research group of professors from 11 renowned universities, said communicating internationally will become much more important within the next three years. In the UK, this view was shared by 70.2 per cent of communication professionals, but only 47.2% say they communicate internationally on a regular basis.

“With communications and a global perspective each being such a critical part of a successful business, it’s alarming to find that less than half of UK companies are in a regular dialogue with people beyond their borders,” explained Denise Kaufmann, partner and CEO of Ketchum London – and an employee of Ketchum, the global PR consultancy which has supported the study.

“Enlightened companies are putting in place the structures and capacity now, to take advantage of both fast growing global economies and the substantial market potential on the UK’s doorstep. Despite economic difficulties, the EU remains a vital market for the UK and typically, a first step towards broader international trading.” added Kaufmann.

Professor Ansgar Zerfass, lead researcher of the international research team, said: “Given the high degree of integration of European economies, companies without a proper international communications strategy are putting their business at risk.”

Another finding of the study points to the fact that, for the first time in five years, the perceived importance of social media tools (Twitter, Facebook, etcetera) is not growing anymore. Data from the 2013 study show that 73 per cent of European communication professionals agree that online communities are an important part of a company’s communication portfolio, while 55 per cent believe in the value of Twitter and 39 per cent in weblogs. These values have increased since 2008, but are lower than in 2012.

However, the study reveals a large gap between perceived importance and implementation of social media communication tools.

“We see that mobile applications and working with online communities pose the biggest challenge and opportunity for many companies.” commented Kaufmann.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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