Future trends and strategic insights

A comprehensive study of the future of communication management in 37 European countries

Communication is a critical business function – every crisis reveals this, and the current global financial and recessional cycle is no different. Confidence and trust are hailed as essential for restoration of normality and growth, yet they presuppose credible and transparent information. This is why organisations integrate and strengthen their communication functions throughout Europe. However, any CEO or CCO (Chief Communication Officer) striving for competitive advantage has to go beyond this. Anticipating future trends and developing competencies to deal with the ever-changing media landscape makes the difference. It opens the path to excellence and helps to take the lead in the run for attention, trust and reputation. We have limited empirical research on the future development of communication management in Europe. A major research project was recently launched by the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA), based on academic infrastructure from renowned universities in ten countries. The goal is to gain a clearer and deeper understanding of communications practice in Europe. The European Communication Monitor (Zerfaß et al., 2008) identifies current challenges and future developments of public relations on a transnational level. It builds on earlier initiatives in Europe that researched the structures of the profession on a country-to-country basis (Van Ruler & Verčič, 2004) and complements insights from the United States (Swerling et al., 2008) and China (Wang, 2008).

Ansgar Zerfass

Dr. Ansgar Zerfass is professor and chair in strategic communication at the Institute of Communication and Media Studies at the University of Leipzig, Germany. He is also professor in communication and leadership at BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, as well as editor of the International Journal of Strategic Communication, USA, and, inter alia, Plank Scholar at The Plank Center for Leadership and Communication at the University of Alabama, USA. Current projects include, amongst others, the European Communication Monitor and Asia-Pacific Communication Monitor and Value Creating Communication, the world's most extensive research program on corporate communications conducted by with several universities and global companies.

Dejan Verčič

Professor Dejan Verčič heads the Department of Communication at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is a former president of the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) and since 1994 organiser of BledCom.