Sustainable Business Research Institute (SuBRI) 

European Communication Monitor

Longitudinal survey to explore the practice of strategic communication and public relations Europe
European Communication Monitor

The challenge

For 15 consecutive years (2017-2021) our research into the principles of excellence in communications management is supporting the professionalisation of an unregulated sector as it undergoes dynamic development in response to digitisation, mediatisation and changing business demands.

Supported by the European Public Relations Education and Research Association (EUPRERA) and the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD), our annual European Communication Monitor (ECM) survey of over 5000 communications professionals from more than 80 countries is the most comprehensive analysis of communication management worldwide.

The Approach

Over the last fourteen years more than 25,000 European communication professionals from over 40 countries participated in the survey of the monitor. Every year tens of thousands (40,000 in 2016) throughout Europe are invited with personal emails based on a database provided by the EACD. Additional invitations are sent via national research collaborators and professional associations. The online questionnaires (in English) are based on research questions and hypotheses derived from previous research and literature; they are pre-tested with communication professionals from various countries.

The survey focuses on:

  • New ways to enable top management and other staff
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • The role of social media influencers
  • Social media skills and management competencies

European communication monitor 2018 Strategic communication and the challenges of fake news, trust, leadership, work stress and job statisfaction

The Impact

Our research has driven organisational success by modelling high performing communications functions and creating a framework of excellence. It has steered the professionalisation of practice by establishing a standardised competency framework. It has braced the future sustainability of the sector by raising awareness of unfair practices such as gender pay gaps and ensured the sector is better prepared for technological advancements such as AI and reputational challenges from issues like fake news and cyber security.

The ECM is the largest and longest running transnational study of strategic communication worldwide

The study explores current practices and future developments of strategic communication and public relations in companies, non-profits and other organisations including communication agencies. The reach of the ECM findings now extends to include bi-annual surveys in the Asia-Pacific (since 2015), Latin America (since 2015) and North America (since 2018) regions which has created a truly global picture of modern communication management practice.

The communication monitor series is the most comprehensive research in the field worldwide, covering more than 80 countries. It is the only continuous global research in the field which adheres to full standards of empirical research and provides transparency about its sampling procedures and respondents.

Results have been reported in more than 160 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, contributions in professional magazines, keynotes, presentations and webinars in multiple languages on various continents.

...we are proud to have supported this innovative research project and ultimately see such a significant contribution to the day to day practice of top executives and communicators alike. It is refreshing to see empirical work used in such a pragmatic and practical way to help professionalise and improve future performance of strategic communication and ultimately our organisations.

Dr Herbert Heitmann President of EACD and former Shell Europe Communications Director

Outputs and recognition



Professor Ralph Tench

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