NEW YORK: The vast majority (91%) of global chief communications officers expect social media to have the single biggest impact on their job over the next few years and 73% are hiring more social media experts in response, a new survey has shown.

Now in its fifth year, The Rising CCO report was conducted by executive search firm Spencer Stuart and Weber Shandwick, the public relations firm.

Based on responses from 203 CCOs in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America, the study confirmed that CCOs in all regions expect social media to be the most important development as well as mobile (73%) and video production (69%).

This changing media environment seems to be changing the face of corporate communications, the report suggested, amid evidence that CCOs are putting more emphasis on content publishing and are taking on more responsibility for marketing.

A full 90% of CCOs say they have content publishing on their agendas, 58% say they create and publish their own content, 18% are preparing to become an original content publisher while a further 14% are considering the option for the future.

Meanwhile, the report highlighted a growing convergence between corporate communications and marketing with 35% of respondents reporting that they have oversight for marketing, up from 26% in 2012, while 84% agree that corporate reputation and brand reputation have become indivisible.

"Greater marketing and communications convergence is likely driven by the increasing indivisibility of corporate and brand reputation that's fast taking hold among leading global Fortune 500 companies," said Leslie Gaines-Ross, chief reputation strategist at Weber Shandwick.

"In a splintered media environment, having one clear enterprise voice is now mission critical," she added.

Despite the growing influence of social media, the report also established that CCOs continue to rely on traditional media as part of their communications strategies.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) regard traditional and social media to be equally effective for crisis management while over half (58%) think they're equally effective for retaining customers, attracting new customers (54%) or creating awareness of a new product or service (50%).

Traditional media is viewed as more effective for announcing financial results (76%) and promoting the visibility of senior executives (54%) while social media is seen as more effective for attracting talent (56%).

Data sourced from PR Newswire, Weber Shandwick; additional content by Warc staff