DAVOS — A new survey of comms leaders by Page identifies geopolitics as the primary risk to business for the year ahead, closely followed by concerns about polarization.

Conducted from December 18, 2023 to January 10, 2024, the survey collected responses from 35 CCOs across North America, Europe, and the Middle East. These communication leaders shared their prevailing concerns and anticipations within the dynamic landscape of 2024.

Among the surveyed CCOs, a notable 45% highlighted international conflicts and elections as the paramount critical risk demanding businesses’ attention in 2024. Meanwhile, 32% expressed concerns about polarization, and 14% each cited mis/disinformation and employee issues as areas of significant apprehension.

Furthermore, a majority of the CCOs indicated a belief in the importance of leveraging new technologies and artificial intelligence for personalization, speed, scalability, demonstrating return on investment (ROI), and evolving the function as essential for seizing top business opportunities.

Reflecting on the potential pitfalls of personal biases, one CCO cautioned, “It’s highly unlikely that your personal social or political views match those of a diverse workforce. Tread lightly making statements on behalf of an entire company,” highlighting the need for sensitivity in the realm of corporate communication.

Additionally, Page collaborated with The Harris Poll to conduct an online survey last month, seeking insights into public confidence in businesses. The survey gathered responses from 11,612 adult consumers across 10 markets, including Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the UK, and the US.

Among various business issues, an impressive average of 80% of respondents believed it is crucial for leading companies to address seven key issues: economic growth, job creation or skill development, environmental concerns, corruption, mental health, income inequality, and trust in key societal institutions. However, the confidence in companies’ ability to make a positive impact on these issues was less remarkable, with only an average of 56% expressing faith in responsible business practices.

Interestingly, economic growth and job creation and workplace skills development garnered higher public confidence, just above 60%, compared to issues like corruption, which received less than 50% confidence.

Page identified environmental issues and mental health as the top business opportunities, with confidence levels of 59% and 56% respectively, suggesting potential areas for enterprises to focus their efforts and build public trust.

This dissonance highlights a call to action for organizations to align their communication strategies with the public’s expectations, building trust, and contributing meaningfully to the broader societal conversation.