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THE LEADERS'
REPORT

Spanning over 40 countries, The Leaders' Report is the first comprehensive review into what government and public sector communication leaders around the world are thinking, planning and concerned about. The research explores current and future challenges and what communication leaders are doing to prepare and where communication strategy is most effective in delivering on objectives.

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THE LEADERS' REPORT

The Leaders' Report

The future of government communication

Welcome to The Leaders' Report: the future of government communication. At the heart of this research lies the simple recognition that public policy cannot be delivered successfully without effective communication. Yet communication leaders in many governments who were interviewed for this research say they are struggling to combat declining levels of public trust in government, and that they lack the ability to keep pace with how citizens communicate and engage in the 21st century.

About this research

Spanning 40 countries, The Leaders' Report is the first comprehensive global review into how government and public sector communication leaders and practitioners are working now, their concerns, and what they are doing to prepare for the communication challenges of the future.

The research has allowed us to identify what may be driving these challenges, and how governments can respond. The report includes practical examples from a range of countries that show how government communicators are responding to the rising expectations of politicians, policymakers and the public alike.

The Leaders' Report is structured in three parts:

  • The challenges set out three key issues: the striking similarities in the challenges faced across geographic and social-political boundaries; an explanation of why effective communication is crucial; and the importance of sharing best practice
  • The findings delve deeper into five key challenges facing government communicators globally, and begins to identify what might be done to address them
  • Outliers introduces questions cited by a minority of participants in this research and which we believe warrant further study.

Background to the Leaders' Report

The Leaders' Report was developed by WPP's Government & Public Sector Practice. The programme was chaired by the Practice's CEO, Dr Michelle Harrison. It was steered by an advisory board of global leaders in the fields of government, politics and communication to whom we are indebted for their input:

  • Vijay Chadda, CEO of the Bharti Foundation, the development arm of Bharti Enterprises, one of India's leading business groups
  • Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Dean and Professor in the Practice of Public Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore
  • Dr Juan Pardinas, General Director of the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO)
  • Professor, the Honourable Stephen Martin, Chief Executive of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA)
  • Lisa Sherman, President & CEO of Ad Council, USA
  • Keith Weed, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Unilever Plc
  • Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance, University of Oxford.

Methodology

The research included:

  • A comprehensive audit of existing practice together with analysis of data on major trends in government communication and their associated organisational drivers
  • A global conversation with the project's advisory board members
  • In-depth qualitative interviews with government communications leaders from 20 countries and five multilateral organisations
  • An online, confidential qualitative survey with more than 240 communication practitioners from 29 countries.

About us

Governments today cannot achieve their public policy goals without effective communications.

WPP is the leading global marketing and communications services company. Its agencies partner with governments in over 70 countries on the policy challenges where communication can have the greatest impact:

  • Behaviour Change
  • Digital Government
  • Place Marketing
  • Engagement & Participation
  • Public Sector Recruitment

The Government & Public Sector Practice advises policymakers and public sector communication leaders on strategy, innovation, capability development and global best practice. Our team of senior consultants connects clients with the best ideas and expertise in WPP's global network. We invest continuously to advance our thinking and evidence on the strategic use of communication.

Contact us to discuss a strategic communication challenge, improving the performance of a public sector communication team, or finding the right team within WPP's agencies for a specific brief.