Survey Finds Major Disconnect on Sustainability Efforts; ‘Social Intelligence’ Will Become the Norm This Year

‘Walking the Talk’ on Sustainability: Nearly two-thirds of businesses worldwide view social and environmental issues as “significant” or “very significant” when addressing sustainability concerns, according to a recent study conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review. However, just 40% of those organizations said they have developed initiatives to address such concerns, and a mere 10% of the respondents said they are fully committed to issues such as health and wellness, the environment and economic sustainability.

Indeed, there is still a gaping divide between talk and action when it comes to “walking the talk” on sustainability, the study said. MIT took the pulse of 1,847 business executives and managers, from 118 countries.

Here are some key findings from the study:

• Nine out of ten respondents who view sustainability as significant or very significant have already developed a strategy for their organizations, whereas only 62% of the total respondent population said they have developed such a strategy.

• More than one-third (35%) of respondents said their sustainability efforts have boosted profits.

• When breaking down sustainability initiatives, 80% of respondents view economic issues as “significant” or “very significant,” and 70% of the respondents said the same about environmental issues.

Source: MIT Sloan Management Review

Can’t-Miss Predictions for the Year Ahead: Visible Technologies, a social analytics agency, released five predictions for marketers as they look to the year ahead. Regarding the emerging trends, data seems to be climbing to the top of the marketing food chain.

Here are some of the predictions related to data:

1. “As Big Data continues to grow, marketers will serve as change agents and lead the transformation towards ‘precise data.’” With so much data available, it’s impossible to sift through it all, so the key is to find and capitalize on the data that works for your brand.

2.“Social data/intelligence will receive the respect it deserves as it fully enters mainstream marketing and business operations.” Companies will move away from segmenting online and offline data, and will instead opt for a holistic approach.

3. “Private data will play an increasing role in social intelligence.” Visible said that in the future marketers will need to merge private and social data to create more robust consumer profiles. PRN

Source: Visible Technologies

Quick Study HS MarkWThe Measurement Myth

Myth: Best practice methods are the only way to conduct PR research.

Truth: As a profession, public relations pros should strive to achieve the highest standards in every endeavor. In performing the function, certain methods are more efficient and effective than others, whether the subject is research, media relations or speechwriting. In the case of research specifically, we seek to conduct research that’s honest, fair, transparent and discrete. But while best practice methods are widely discussed and available, all forms of data collection and analysis have advantages and disadvantages. The anecdote among PR researchers is “Fast. Accurate. Inexpensive. Choose two.” Best practice-research assumes that one has the time and financial resources to achieve the highest standard but it also takes for granted that every decision requires best-practice research. If the future of the company depends on your research findings—cases of high risk/high investment/high reward like a major product launch or a brand rescue for example—95% certainty may not be good enough. But for many tactical instances—cases of low risk/low investment/low reward such as pitch calls or small local event planning, for example—50% certainty may be adequate for making informed choices. Unfortunately, certain situations don’t allow for anything more than “good enough” research. If “good enough” means your research is “directional,” rather than “statistically significant,” it’s not necessarily bad research as long as you disclose its limitations.

Mark Weiner is the CEO of PRIME Research-Americas. If you have a PR measurement myth you’d like to dispel, please contact Mark at

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 6, 2014 issue of PR News.