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spencerstuartwebershandwick-areas-increasing-focus-for-ccos-oct2016More than 7 in 10 global chief communications officers (CCOs) expect to increase their focus on digital communications in the coming 12-18 months, and 91% expect to work more closely with digital/social media departments over the next few years, according to a report [pdf] from Spencer Stuart and Weber Shandwick. Indeed, more CCOs expect to hire digital and social media talent over the next 12-18 months than any other position.

Currently, social media or digital communications are a primary responsibility for about three-quarters of CCOs, with media relations the most common primary responsibility (97%).

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More than 9 in 10 are also responsible for crisis management or reputation management, and almost two-thirds expect to focus more on in the coming 12-18 months. In fact, when asked if they could focus on only one thing in their role, CCOs overwhelming pointed to reputation, with 4 times as many respondents choosing this over the next-most popular response, media relations (28% and 7%, respectively).

Currently, CCOs report spending a lot of time on cyber security (47%), shifts in consumer spending and behaviors (45%) and financial crises (44%), with other issues such as terrorist attacks (10%), pandemics (9%) and large-scale migration of people (6%) not as time-consuming.

CCOs are also tasked with handling shareholder activism: 53% report that their company has been impacted by shareholder activism, and more than 9 in 10 say that their department is very (69%) or somewhat (23%) involved in addressing shareholder activism.

About the Data: The study results are based on a global survey of 153 senior corporate communications professionals, the majority of whom (138) are based in North America and Europe and the Middle East.

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