Strategic insights for managing corporate communications from industry leaders

Strategic communication is a driver for corporate success in today’s rapidly changing world. However, it is hard to find reliable insights into current challenges, upcoming trends, and dimensions of excellence in communication management. Experienced communication leaders know that many debates in industry publications are based on studies with questionable samples or pushed by those selling services and advice.

The European Communication Monitor (ECM) makes a difference. The annual study, established in 2007, is widely recognized as a premier source of information for communication professionals and business leaders. It is organized by a group of professors who are world-renowned researchers in the field. The study reports have been downloaded more than 230,000 times. Peer-reviewed journal articles based on the study have received multiple awards around the world. A book highlighting the pillars of communication excellence derived from the findings is available in several languages including English, Chinese, and Spanish. Similar studies in more than 80 countries have produced the largest empirical evaluation of the field to date.

In 2024, the ECM has entered a new phase. The study design has been refined to focus on corporate communications in the business world. The study will interview an elite sample of communication leaders representing the top companies across Europe. In-depth insights will be based on statements, experiences, and forecasts from those shaping the future of the field. This will replace statistical analyses of surveys of communicators at different hierarchical levels and in diverse types of organizations. The ECM reports will continue to present thought-provoking trends.

The quality and neutrality of the study is guaranteed by a strong team of partners. A research team of six professors from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the Nordics covers different business cultures and languages of key markets. The non-commercial study is organized within the framework of EUPRERA, the European association of communication researchers. It is supported by four initiatives representing communication directors of major businesses across Europe: the Academic Society for Management & Communication (Germany, Switzerland, Austria), CECOMS (Italy), #NORA (Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark), and Entreprises & Médias (France).

Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfass is Professor and Chair of Strategic Communication at Leipzig University, Germany, Editor of the “International Journal of Strategic Communication”, USA, and ECM lead researcher since 2007. He has published 44 books and more than 440 articles and studies. According to Google Scholar, he is is the world’s most cited and influential researcher on corporate communications, communication management, and public relations.

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ECM European Communication Monitor Dr. Ralph TenchProf. Dr. Ralph Tench is Director of Research at Leeds Business School in the United Kingdom. His research involves international funded projects from the private sector, the European Union, and research councils. He is author of Europe’s best-selling textbook on strategic communication, “Exploring PR and management communication” (5th ed., Pearson).

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Prof. Dr. Aurélie Laborde is Director of the graduate program in communication of organizations at Bordeaux Montaigne University, France, and Editorial Director of “Communication & Organisation”, the only francophone academic journal focusing on corporate communications.

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Prof. Dr. Alexander Buhmann is Associate Professor of Corporate Communication at BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway. His research is situated at the intersection of communication, digital technology, and management with focus on reputation management, digitalization, and artificial intelligence.

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Prof. Dr. Ángeles Moreno is Professor of Public Relations and Communication Management at University Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid, Spain. Her research has been awarded by the most prominent academic associations in Europe, Latin America and North America. She is one of the most influential female social scientists in Spain.

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Prof. Dr. Stefania Romenti is Professor of Strategic Communication and Public Relations at IULM University, Milan, Italy, and
Past President of the European Public Relations and Education Association (EUPRERA), Brussels. Her research interests focus
on the strategic role of communication within the governance of organizations.

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Caroline Siegel, M.A., is project manager for the European Communication Monitor since 2023 and works as a research associate at Leipzig University, Germany, with Prof. Dr. Ansgar Zerfass.
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Background and history: The ECM and the Global Communication Monitor

The European Communication Monitor has a profound history as a premier source of information for communication professionals. Established in 2007, the ECM provides an overview on the field’s changing status and on emerging or disappearing trends. Between 2007 and 2022, annual surveys among almost 40,000 communication practitioners in 50 countries generated insights to stimulate practice, support theory development, and guide education in universities across the continent.

Additional knowledge has been gained through parallel studies in Latin America, North America and Asia-Pacific: The Global Communication Monitor series is the largest and only truly global study of strategic communication, public relations, corporate communications and communication management practices. Between 2014 and 2022, more than 6,000 communication professionals in over 80 countries were surveyed in three waves of the study. Four connected studies were conducted as collaborative non-profit projects of leading universities, professional associations and foundations in the field:

Thanks to all contributors

Conducting the annual ECM surveys was only possible thanks to the enormous commitment of researchers from 28 renowned universities across the continent, professional associations, and partners/sponsors who provided valuable resources. Several academics and professional associations have been part of the ECM network between 2007 and 2023:

Core research team: Alexander Buhmann, Ángeles Moreno, Ralph Tench, Dejan Verčič, Piet Verhoeven, Ansgar Zerfass

National researchers: Eleni Apospori (GR), Christian Burgers (NL), Andrea Catellani (BE), Valérie Carayol (FR), Nino Ćorić (BA), Anne-Marie Cotton (BE), Alexandra Craciun (RO), Sabine Einwiller (AU), Jesper Falkheimer (SE), Finn Frandsen (DK), John Gallagher (IR), Sven Hamrefors (SE), Denisa Hejlová (CZ), Kevin Hora (IR), Øyvind Ihlen (NO), Emanuele Invernizzi (IT), Clio Kenterelidou (GR), Danijela Lalić (RS), Ryszard Lawniczak (PL), Vilma Luoma-aho (FI), Francesco Lurati (CH), Liudmila Minaeva (RU), Ayla Okay (TR), Evandro Oliveira (PO), Milko Petrov (BU), Sandrine Roginsky (BE), Adela Rogojinaru † (RO), Stefania Romenti (IT), Waldemar Rydzak (PL), Sónia Sebãstiao (PO), Marina Shilina (RU), Mariana Sueldo (LT), Betteke van Ruler (NL), Ana Tkalac Verčič (HR)

Assistant researchers: The ECM surveys 2014–2023 have been comprehensively supported by Dr. Markus Wiesenberg, Dr. Jens Hagelstein and Dr. Ronny Fechner as project managers and/or research associates at Leipzig University. Earlier editions were supported by Nadin Ernst, Sandra Häberlein, Anne Ihle, Stephanie Krahl, Prof. Dr. Peter Schmiedgen, Katharina Simon, and Dr. Sophia C. Volk during their time at Leipzig University.

Partners: The ECM surveys 2014–2023 have been co-organized with the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD), and supported by premium sponsor Cision. Former editions were supported by Grayling, Hugin Group, Infopaq, Ketchum Pleon.