Converging Communication Disciplines: Circle of Fellows #27

The trend toward the convergence of public relations and marketing is hard to ignore. Two separate studies—one from Nasdaq Corporate Solutions and the other from the USC Annenberg Center for Public Relations—both demonstrate that this convergence is more than just a casual observation. The Nasdaq study—the CCO Measurement Survey—concluded that Chief Communications Officers are likely to use marketing metrics to measure the performance of its non-marketing communications, including website traffic, search ranking, and sales/lead conversion.

Among in-house PR practitioners, according to the Annenberg study, earned media work is declining while owned media is on the rise, along with branded content and influencer marketing. Half of the respondents predicted that PR will be more aligned with marketing in five years, while only 8% believe it will continue as a distinct and separate function. Eighty-two percent said that the “public relations” won’t accurately describe the work they will be doing by 2022; the term, they said, needs to be more broadly defined.

In this video, a panel of IABC Fellows discuss the convergence trend and what it means for the practices of public relations, corporate communication, and employee communication.

You can watch the panel on this page or on YouTube. You can also subscribe to the Circle of Fellows podcast to get the audio for listening later (and never miss a future episode). Past episodes are also available on the Circle of Fellows podcast page.

About the panel

Priya Bates is a senior communication executive who provides strategic internal communication counsel in order to ensure leaders, managers, and employees understand the strategy, believe in the vision, act in accordance with the values, and contribute to business results. She is president of Inner Strength Communications in Toronto and previously served as senior director of Internal Communications at Loblaw Companies Ltd.


Kellie Garrett, based in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, Kellie is a speaker, coach, and strategist, as well as an associate professor at Royal Roads University. Before launching her own business, Kellie was Senior VP of Strategy, Knowledge, and Reputation for Farm Credit Canada.



Tamara Gillis, Ed.D., ABC, straddles the worlds of academia and communication practice. As a tenured professor at Elizabethtown College, she is preparing tomorrow’s corporate communicators. As an author and communications consultant, she continues to influence the practice of communications and change management. Dr. Gillis’s research interests have been recognized on the regional, national and international level by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, International Communication Association and IABC. Gillis was the first educator to serve as chairman of the IABC Research Foundation.

Jim Shaffer is a business adviser, leadership coach, author, and speaker. As leader of the Jim Shaffer Group, he helps organizations accelerate results through superior strategy execution. The Jim Shaffer Group creates hard business results by translating the business strategy to the people who need to implement it, aligning systems, processes, and culture to make the gains sustainable. Jim was an architect and leading practitioner of Towers Perrin’s (now Towers Willis Watson) change management consulting practice. He designed and produced the IABC Academy Course, “Managing Change Communication to Drive Results and Value.” Some of his change management clients have included: Abbott, ConAgra Foods, FedEx, IBM, ITT, Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, Owens Corning, Pfizer, Toyota.

Jessica Burnette-Lemon

Jessica Burnette-Lemon is the senior content manager for IABC.

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