More than a third of communication directors believe that the representation of public relations at board level has been boosted since online channels, such as blogs, have grown in popularity to become mainstream news sources, according to a survey conducted at a recent “Offline and online PR evaluation” forum hosted by Lewis PR.

However, while the online media are helping to grow the importance of PR at a senior level, communications directors and marketing representatives also see the need for better evaluation of PR investment, due to the fact that the CEO is still the most difficult person to convince of the value of PR, according to over a quarter of those surveyed.

Despite this, more than 70 of those questioned were spending less than 5 percent of the PR budget on evaluation and measurement.

“It’s no surprise that PR is moving up to board level, with the power, speed and global nature of the online media impacting corporate reputation, evidenced by several high profile cases,” said Ilona Hitel, VP at Lewis. “The move to 21st century communications has brought tremendous challenges, but equally, it has cemented the importance of PR in the corporate history book.

“Whether companies conduct formal, external analysis or use a DIY in-house tool, off and online analysis is something every PR campaign should not be without. Recent changes have made PR measurement more tangible, if anything.”