The Suite Spot: Here’s where CEOs and comms leaders foresee AI making the most impact

Findings of the 2023 HarrisX/Ragan Survey of Communications Leaders reveal how CEOs and communications leaders feel about the growing influence of AI on comms.

Ragan Communications partnered with research consultancy HarrisX to understand how CEOs and communications leaders view each other’s roles and responsibilities, what they value most, and how they feel about the growing influence of AI.

The survey was conducted by Ragan and HarrisX from August 11 – September 11 and surveyed 370 CEOs and high-ranking communications professionals.

This year’s results found that four in five communications leaders and CEOs have a favorable opinion of AI, which is just a start but nonetheless creates an optimistic frame for considering how these tools will impact the comms function. A vast majority of CEOs (91%) and other comms leaders (86%) also reported having a strong knowledge of AI.

Notably, over half (59%) of comms leaders see AI playing a big role in their organization over the next five years, while recognizing the impact it has now. Very few say it won’t have a role at all.

While we heard earlier in the year that many communicators were slow to adopt the tech, this appears to be changing—most comms leaders approve of the pace at which their organizations are adopting the technology. Leaders at smaller orgs approve of the pace more, which suggests there may be added guardrails, bureaucracy, and implementation challenges at larger orgs.

Comms leaders and CEOs feel that the marketing function will be more disrupted by AI than comms, a data point that communication leaders may share to assuage fears over the tech replacing jobs.

Meanwhile, comms leaders see the potential of this technology to positively impact analytics, marketing and social media. Just over half also predict AI’s impact on external comms will be a net positive, while just under half feel the same way about its impact on internal comms.

Communicators feel less optimistic about the impact AI will have on HR and hiring, which makes sense considering the myriad horror stories of automation’s algorithmic bias and profiling when implemented to screen diverse candidates, provide mental health support and more. A timely reminder that some tasks are better left to thinking, feeling humans.

Download the full study results here. 

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