The ComGap study, a spin-off project linked to the European Communication Monitor 2014, looks at how the public and PR professionals interpret leadership across 10 European countries. Specifically it examines the most appropriate channels through which leadership is communicated, the most important attributes of leadership, the most impactful behaviors of leadership and the most relevant use of social media.
The ComGap study was organized by the European Public Relations Education & Research Association and Ketchum. It offers insights based on the comparison of two large empirical studies. Based on thorough academic standards, a representative poll among the general public in 10 European countries was combined with a subsample of the ECM 2014 among 1,346 communication professionals in the same markets. The public poll samples the views of 4,054 citizens and is weighted for age and gender.
A comparison between how communication professionals and the general public interpret leadership has revealed that there is a consensus on core issues like the value of communication, the importance of trust and the power of face-to-face interaction. But there are also some differences or gaps. By utilizing this roadmap to authentic and credible positioning communicators can better understand the public’s preferences and therefore position leaders more effectively.
One of the key learnings is that the most important attribute of leadership is a strong alignment towards trustworthiness. Communication professionals tend to emphasize the value of innovation, management quality and financial strength whilst giving less weight than the public to the importance of customer service and environmental responsibility. The study also suggests that communicators could also place a greater emphasis on leading by example.