Our new research roundups will highlight some of the pertinent studies coming out of the PR industry, looking at topics as varied as the business that produces them. The feature will run periodically.  Send your latest findings to [email protected].

Pharma's Corporate Reputation
Once convinced of a drug’s effectiveness and safety, healthcare providers weigh the manufacturer’s corporate reputation before deciding whether to prescribe it, new research from WE Communications shows.

The agency’s latest Brands in Motion report, Healthy Reputation: More than Medicine, found healthcare professionals around the world want the peace of mind that they are recommending treatments from companies they respect — and building that respect goes well beyond producing high-quality drug therapies. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they are reluctant to prescribe medications from companies with a less than stellar reputation.

The survey of more than 1,000 healthcare professionals in Australia, China, Germany, India, the UK and the US uncovered three main themes:

Positive corporate reputation impacts the bottom line: The study found that when treatments have similar profiles, the maker’s overall corporate reputation is the No. 1 factor influencing healthcare professionals’ decisions to prescribe or recommend a drug. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most important, corporate reputation ranked at nearly 8 by healthcare professionals. The second biggest influence is the company’s reputation as a leader in a particular disease area.

Delivering more than medicine is healthcare professionals’ expectation:
The new data finds that healthcare professionals hold biotech and pharma brands to a particularly high standard, more than companies in other sectors, to go beyond their mission to provide medicines that treat and prevent diseases. In other words, they expect biotech and pharmaceutical companies to deliver “more than medicine."

Healthcare professionals question if patient centricity is real: Patient centricity is the top characteristic that healthcare professionals want brands to embody, with being innovative and progressive taking the second and third spots, respectively. However, only 45% of respondents believe that biotech and pharmaceutical companies are delivering this to a “great” or “large” extent.

Multicultural Marketing
New research from Zeno and Egami shows that companies by and large are lagging when it comes to crafting communications that resonate with today’s multicultural consumers, therefore missing the mark in reaching coveted audiences.

“Our research suggests brands and employers are still using too general of an approach, and ultimately talking to a group that doesn’t exist anymore,” said Therese Caruso, Zeno’s global head of strategy + planning. A new group that identifies as two or more ethnicities and is one of the fastest growing segments in the US expanding four times in the last decade and now representing 10% of the population, according to the survey of 6,000 Americans.

In turn, Zeno and Egami created a “new multicultural mandate” including steps organizations can take to make their communications more reflective of today’s audiences.  They are:

Embrace culture: Connect via authentic acknowledgement, respect and engagement through legacy and new cultural traditions.

Celebrate individualism: Develop platforms that provide diverse cultural expressions; there is no one-size-fits-all definition of identity.

Listen to social voices: Understand how social issues impact the lives of various segments of the population to provide relevant solutions.

Create space for new thinking: True innovation and progress will only be achieved through a diversity of thought and new ideas.

Media Bias
Nearly half of consumers say they believe the media has an agenda and 41% believe the media is biased, according to a recent study by Ipsos and EvolveMKD. The research, which polled 1000 consumers and 500 media professionals, finds:

There is a substantial disconnect between how the media views itself and how its audience see it: Only a quarter of media believe the public has misconceptions about the media or that the public is skeptical of media, and yet nearly one in three believe the media is under control of corporations and that their No. 1 priority is to serve themselves. Consumers use words like "biased", "political," or "deceitful" to describe the media. 

The role of media is shifting and journalists are shining a light on the challenges the profession faces today:Only 39% of media surveyed said they thought the role of the media was to be factual. Plus, only a quarter say their role is to be neutral. Thirty-five percent of media professionals believe media is less important because it is focused on content the public wants instead of content the public needs.

The data may suggest consumers’ media literacy is improving: Eighty-eight percent of respondents relate to being a “fact-finder” reader and 62% are “analysts,” who believe media has an agenda so it is up to them to determine which sources they can trust and if the content is relevant or entertainment-driven. At the same time, there is a clear and growing divide among readers, potentially fueled by the political division in the country — 61% of consumers relate to the “loyalist” persona, someone who is skeptical of everything other than their preferred media sources.

The State of Journalism
One in five journalists have switched jobs or made a career change due to the economy, according to the latest State of Journalism report from Muck Rack.

In addition, the survey of more than 2,200 journalists also found layoffs and furloughs have increased the workload for about 20% of journalists.

Half of respondents cited disinformation and lack of funding as top concerns, followed by trust in journalism (40%) and lack of time to cover stories thoughtfully (33%). While two out of three journalists say their work has been impacted by economic uncertainty and 51% make $70,000 or less a year, more than half are optimistic about the profession.

The study also found that short-form video will rise in popularity.  Almost half of journalists believe short-form video will grow in popularity in 2023, followed by podcasts (25%), and newsletters (13%).

Journalists are still busier than ever, covering an average of four beats. One in five journalists receive upwards of 50 pitches per week and nearly half of journalists (47%) create more than five stories per week. While most journalists haven’t changed their habits, another 7% say they’re more likely to respond to pitches now compared to last year. The top reason for pitch rejection (24%) continues to be lack of personalization, followed by bad timing (22%).

2023 CanTrust Index
The 2023 Proof Strategies CanTrust Index shows a recovery of trust in government among Canadians as pandemic fatigue ends and an emerging “generational trust gap” that could upset the electoral map and change how leaders work in Canada. Older generations are more likely to think that governments should play a major role in society, compared to young people — different expectations could lead to different voting priorities.

The survey of 1,502 Canadians puts aggregate trust among Canadians up 5% (39%), the highest since 2019. The increase was driven in part by a 15% increase in trust in government and an eight per cent increase in trust in the news media.  Other findings include:

Trust in government improves while trust in its leadership remains low:
In 2023, 37% of Canadians trust government to be competent and effective, compared to 22% in 2022. While Canadian attitudes towards government are more positive, trust in politicians in general remains very low at 22%.

Trust is declining in Canada living up to its values
: When asked to consider a list of 12 core values, Canadians score most of them lower now than at the start of the pandemic. When asked if Canada is living up to the value of freedom, 59% trust that it is, compared to 73% in 2020. Similarly, 53% trust that Canada is safe, compared to 68% in 2020.

Canadians don’t feel good about the economy: When asked if they trusted Canada to deliver economic security, 35% said yes. Trust in the economy is lowest among Gen Z. When asked if they felt satisfied with the economy, 29 per cent of Gen Zs said yes compared to 50% of boomers. Similarly, 34% of Gen Zs said they trust the financial and stock markets compared to 46% of boomers.