Marketing And Communications Decision-Makers Showing Signs Of Optimism Heading Into 2022

A new report released today by 360PR+ finds brand leaders are feeling more focused than ever and, as a positive sign of things to come, planning to increase their marketing spend in 2022. There’s broad consensus that the challenges of the last 18 months made marketing and communications leaders better at what they do. Three-quarters (76%) said the pandemic has helped them prioritize objectives, more than half (57%) said the experience has opened their eyes to new approaches, and four in 10 (42%) agree that they are more nimble today as a result.

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The report sheds light on what’s working in the new normal for marketing and communications leaders and what they’re planning to do more of in the year ahead. Of note, it points to the rise of the CEO as brand storyteller. Nearly all marketing and communications leaders surveyed (95%) recognize the importance of their organization’s top executive being an effective storyteller, with two-thirds (68%) planning to increase use of their most senior executives in brand communications in the coming year.

“We’ve witnessed this first-hand at 360, with the pandemic becoming a trigger-moment for thought-leadership and executives playing a more active, ongoing role in speaking for their brands and organizations, not just tied to expected financial events,” commented 360’s Mike Rush, Partner & EVP. “That helps elevate a brand message in the marketplace with customers and other stakeholders and can benefit company culture, too, as employees see their organization’s executives as insightful and inspirational leaders in the larger landscape.”

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According to 360’s research, marketers are more conscious of the role of company culture in brand-building today. Nine in 10 (91%) believe company culture plays a role in setting their brand apart. Related, marketing and comms leaders surveyed put purpose at the top of the list of things they’ll look to focus more on in 2022, with 58% saying communicating brand purpose is a priority.

Additional Study Highlights

  • Brands are doing a better job of increasing their reach and relevance with diverse groups of consumers. Forty percent say they have partnered with diverse influencers and slightly more (42%) say they’re focused on creating content that represents all audiences. Sixty-eight percent have used diverse media for brand outreach, including advertising (49%) and/or earned media/publicity with diverse media (37%).
  • Even with the promise of in-person returning, many brands are doubling-down on virtual experiences, with 44% planning to hold more virtual events in 2022.
  • Eighty-two percent say they expect their brands to take more stands on social issues moving forward, and 57% wish their organization was willing to take more risks.

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