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Asia Pacific Communications Leaders Optimistic for 2021 Despite Pandemic and Concerns Around Burnout and Mental Health

  • Brand Building, Strategy and Media Relations Key Focus Areas for Communications Teams

Nearly nine-in-10 senior communications leaders are optimistic about the year ahead despite the challenges of navigating the global pandemic according to the results of a wide-ranging Telum Media survey released today. Unsurprisingly Covid and the global economy were cited as the biggest challenges for 2021.

450 senior in-house and agency communications professionals contributed to the Telum Asia Pacific Communications Survey from across the Asia-Pacific region. Among the findings 77 percent said that communications functions and teams have been raised in importance over the last year. After a heavy focus on internal communication more outward looking communications objectives – brand building, thought leadership and reputation management – were highlighted as priorities for 2021.

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With companies looking to build reputation capital in the Asia Pacific region operational issues or crises were flagged as the biggest reputational risks. Eight in 10 leaders in the communications industry stated traditional media is the most trusted source of information over governments, corporate websites, social media and influencers, while media relations emerged alongside digital marketing as the most important communications tactics.

On an operating level 25 percent of senior communicators identified burnout at as the top issue facing their teams while there is a renewed focus on upskilling teams to adapt to accelerated digital transformation. With a greater focus on media relations in 2021 Asia Pacific communications chiefs singled out personalised pitches as the most effective strategy to get cut-through and building relationships with media as important skills for emerging communications practitioners.

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Nearly six in 10 said that they do not see returning to the office full-time with continuation of culture (20%), training and development (18%) and networking (15%) highlighted as areas likely to be most impacted by remote working.

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“2020 was tough for everyone and communications professionals were firmly in the spotlight as teams, companies and organisations responded to the immediate challenges of Covid and remote working. This survey explores the issues senior communicators in Asia Pacific are grappling with now and how they are proposing to get a grip on them in the year ahead” said Tim Williamson, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Telum Media. “What emerges is a picture of resilience and cautious optimism as teams shift from crisis management to a renewed outward focus.”

The Telum Asia Pacific Communication Survey 2021 was based on a survey of 450 senior communications leaders in agencies and inhouse. Respondents were from across the Asia Pacific region.

Almost three quarters of surveyed in-house respondents plan to retain or increase spending on agencies in 2021 while expanding the skillsets of teams was identified as a major priority. Budget restrictions and Covid were cited as the main obstacles to achieving communications objectives.

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