The USC Annenberg Relevance Report

The annual Relevance Report from the USC Center for Public Relations identifies emerging issues and forecasts topics and trends impacting society, business, and communication in the coming year. The book features contributions from PR industry leaders, and USC academics and graduate students.

This year’s edition, published on November 1, 2022, is about causes that will be relevant in 2023, as selected by the CPR board members, academics and student contributors. The Report also includes highlights from our fourth annual Relevance Survey, which queried Americans about their viewpoints on corporate involvement in social justice issues. Insights from the survey included:

  • About 60% of consumers surveyed believe corporations should advocate for the causes they care about, such as by donating to non-profits or encouraging employees to get involved with causes.
  • 46% of consumers surveyed would take a pay cut to work at a company that is more aligned with social values that are important to them.
  • 72% of consumers surveyed would pay more for a product whose brand aligns with their social values – and about one-third say they would pay 25% or more for that product.

This year’s contents are themed around six core subjects: Our Industry, Mental Health, Workplace, Community, One Planet, and Communication. Contributors highlighted a number of non-profits, causes in need of attention, and proposed various solutions to problems that communicators and their businesses may face in the coming year. Contributors include corporate CCOs and agency leaders from over two dozen organizations.

So how exactly do we define what is relevant? USC Center for PR Director Fred Cook explains that relevance is something more ephemeral and more important than fame, popularity, or power. At its most basic, relevance is about being heard and it is something every PR campaign strives for.

“When a story is relevant, people listen. When content is relevant, people share. When an issue is relevant, people act. When a brand’s relevant, people buy.” – Fred Cook (@fredcook)