JC Anderson Consulting

2021 strategic communications survey reveals and predicts critical changes

The 2021 JOTW Strategic Communications Survey was published this summer, revealing and predicting changes in the communications industry.

What I found most interesting are the following findings:

Too many priorities.

The top three challenges facing communications and public relations professionals are:

  1. Too many priorities
  2. Cutting through the noise
  3. Working with “leaders that don’t understand communications.”

Media relations struggle.

Sixty percent of respondents reported that media relations is harder or much harder compared to last year.

Reporting structure for communicators.

Most respondents report to either the CEO, CMO, or chief communications officer.

Many say they would prefer to  be independent of marketing and report to either the CEO or CCO.


In the wake of the pandemic, 80 percent of respondents agree or strongly agree that organizations place a greater value on communications.

Their top challenges include:

  • Too many priorities
  • Cutting through the clutter
  • Leaders don’t understand comms
  • Ever-expanding duties (social media, content, etc.)
  • Not enough staffing
  • Not enough budget
  • Scope creep

To manage the increase in the volume of work, organizations are contracting with outside agencies, consultants, or freelancers. More than half of the respondents believe more work will be “shipped to outside agencies to help relieve the pressure.” The survey report notes that this suggests a “broad reversal of the trend in years earlier where clients were taking more work in-house.”

You can see the full report on Slideshare here.