My end of year messages in recent years have had a consistent theme – we live in uncertain times. And this year is no exception. The climate crisis, technological change, skills shortages, inflation, political upheaval, war in Ukraine – while we’ve avoided full-scale meltdown, many of our systems are close to blowing a fuse.
Clients across all our markets have been affected. Ninety-seven per cent of C-suite leaders we asked said they’d experienced disruption to their business this year and 98% identified a direct financial or commercial impact.
This volatility is pushing many leaders off-course. Less than half of those we surveyed had spent most of their time pursuing strategic priorities. Some CEOs and CMOs said they lacked confidence in the fundamentals – scoring 6 and 3 out of 10 on having a strong purpose and values to guide their way.
I do however, take great heart from how much the corporate communications industry has grown up, grown in confidence and grown in influence in recent years. A majority of reputation leaders told us their roles have become more influential in the past year and they are hoping for increased budgets next year as a consequence.
Corporate affairs has a seat on many senior management teams and is shaping decisions across every aspect of business success.
This year we’ve been privileged to work on some shining examples of how communications can deliver positive change – working with Sky on their commitment to NetZero, supporting Apple on a number of sustainability projects, developing an Infection Management Coalition to tackle the ‘hidden pandemic’ of antibiotic resistance, and helping Budweiser Brewing Group launch a beer with purpose, to support humanitarian efforts in the Ukraine.
2023 is going to be no easier. Our research shows an almost universal expectation of similar levels of disruption to 2022. The anxiety is evident – CEOs and CMOs scored their confidence in their future preparedness at just over 6 and just over 4 out of 10 respectively.
Hanover has spent two years researching resilience and how best to help our clients embed it. We have learned that resilience isn’t just about how you react to the shocks – it’s about how you manage the ebb and flow of change without losing focus on the opportunity.
Looking forward to 2023, we need to flip our mindset. We must accept that the old routes to competitive advantage no longer apply. The essence of strategy is now how to change – to constantly rewire your strategy to adapt to a changing world. That’s why Hanover has created its Rewire resilience diagnostic tool to help our clients explore areas of vulnerability in their reputation and address them.
And comms leaders have a more sophisticated set of tools to hand than ever before to rewire their approach. Great comms teams in-house and agency side play a critical connecting role between their business and the external world, flowing information and insight back and forth to help the business make the minute adjustments it needs. Our clients say they are targeting new capabilities to add to their toolbox for 2023, to help them be as agile and responsive as possible. We’re extremely proud that clients are coming to Hanover for a broader range of services than ever before – including strategy and insight, ESG consultancy, digital and data.
On behalf of everyone at Hanover, I would like to wish you and your families a restful break and best wishes for the new year.