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Sponsored by 3 Monkeys Communications Research and editorial by PRmoment 
An analysis of the changing roles 
and skill-set...
Future Proofing In-House PR Teams
3 
Contents 
Contents 
Introduction..........................................................................................
Future Proofing In-House PR Teams 
Public relations is changing and therefore the skill sets of in-house PR teams are 
als...
5 
3% 
Utilities 
3% 
Creative 
industries 
1% 
Travel and 
tourism 
17% 
Professional/ 
business services 
3% 
Constructi...
Future Proofing In-House PR Teams 
For as long as anyone can remember public relations people have longed for a seat 
at t...
7 
The following quotes are from a series of interviews conducted with in-house PR leaders. They describe how PR teams tod...
Future Proofing In-House PR Teams 
Like many business sectors, it is tempting for public relations to be very self-critica...
9 
When it comes to the most common personality types in in-house PR teams, people 
who are open-minded, get stuck in and ...
Future Proofing In-House PR Teams 
What are the most important skills for in-house teams in PR today? 
Quotes from our qua...
11 
What are the most important skills for in-house teams in PR today? 
The role of the in-house public relations person h...
Future Proofing In-House PR Teams 
You’ve changed! The evolution of in-house PR teams 
The ability to make business better...
13 
Integration as standard 
Integration has become critical in any marketing communications campaign and 
our research in...
Future Proofing In-House PR Teams 
38% 
Sales 
49% 
Marketing 
61% 
The Board 
60% 
Digital/Social Media 
22% 
Product 
De...
15 
Future 2020 in-house teams 
Surprisingly, given the increased scope of most modern communications departments, only 25...
Future Proofing In-House PR Teams 
Conclusion 
The type of personalities that were most common in PR teams was very reveal...
17 
The future of in-house teams 
Quotes from our qualitative research 
The future of in-house teams 
“Social media has ha...
Future Proofing In-House PR Teams 
The agency perspective – Angie Moxham, Chief Monkey 
How have you found the demands of ...
19 
Conclusion 
Watch this space…
www. 3 - m o n k e y s . c o . u k
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Futureproofing In House PR Teams - 3 Monkeys & PR Moment

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Public relations is changing and therefore the skill sets of in-house PR teams are
also changing.

When it is done well, public relations is a vital business tool for today’s
networked world. Public relations practitioners can now have a greater, and more
immediate, impact on their employers’ business than their predecessors. However,
this is an environment of risk and reward. The rewards from good communications
are much greater; but if public relations people get it wrong, the results can be
very serious for their future careers and the organisation they work for.

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Futureproofing In House PR Teams - 3 Monkeys & PR Moment

  1. 1. Sponsored by 3 Monkeys Communications Research and editorial by PRmoment An analysis of the changing roles and skill-sets required by in-house PR teams today Future Proofing In-house PR Teams
  2. 2. Future Proofing In-House PR Teams
  3. 3. 3 Contents Contents Introduction..................................................................................................................................................4 Who responded?..........................................................................................................................................5 Why Public Relations has become a business critical function.................................................................................6 A skills audit of in-house PR teams.....................................................................................................................8 What are the most important skills for in-house teams in PR today?.......................................................................10 You’ve changed! The evolution of in-house PR teams..........................................................................................12 Future 2020 in-house teams.........................................................................................................................15 Conclusion................................................................................................................................................16 The future of in-house teams..........................................................................................................................17 The agency perspective – Angie Moxham, Chief Monkey..................................................................................18
  4. 4. Future Proofing In-House PR Teams Public relations is changing and therefore the skill sets of in-house PR teams are also changing. When it is done well, public relations is a vital business tool for today’s networked world. Public relations practitioners can now have a greater, and more immediate, impact on their employers’ business than their predecessors. However, this is an environment of risk and reward. The rewards from good communications are much greater; but if public relations people get it wrong, the results can be very serious for their future careers and the organisation they work for. One critical group for the future of public relations are in-house PR teams, and specifically the leaders of these teams. It is upon these people’s shoulders that the rest of the public relations world relies on to showcase the business impact of great communications. This report reveals the priorities of in-house communicators today. We will discuss how PR has become a business critical function, why the impact of integrated and centralised communications has increased, and how the skill sets of PR teams have evolved. Methodology During September and October 2014, PRmoment and 3 Monkeys Communications invited senior in-house communicators to respond to an online survey hosted by independent research firm Censuswide. This quantitative research was then overlaid by qualitative research in the form of 10 telephone interviews with senior in-house PR leaders.102 people completed the combined online and telephone research. Who responded? Introduction Fig 1. What best describes your job title? 30% Head of Press 27% Head of Communications 22% Press Officer 11% Director of 4% Communications Other 3% Director of Marketing 3% Head of Marketing 2% Head of Digital
  5. 5. 5 3% Utilities 3% Creative industries 1% Travel and tourism 17% Professional/ business services 3% Construction and manufacturing 10% Financial 11% Third sector 14% Technology 3% Retail 22% Public sector 4% Pharma/Health 10% Other Fig 2. Which best describes the sector you work in? 21% 21% 14% 22% 10% None Up to 50k Up to 100k Up to 500k Up to 1 million Over 1 million 13% Fig 1. Number of employees in in-house PR/Communications teams 18% 3 - 5 8% 2 11% just me 25% 6 - 9 3% 50 - 99 7% 35 - 49 8% 20 - 34 17% 10 - 19 Who responded? Fig 2. Which best describes the sector you work in? Fig 3. Number of employees in in-house PR/Communications teams Fig 4. What is your annual budget? Who responded?
  6. 6. Future Proofing In-House PR Teams For as long as anyone can remember public relations people have longed for a seat at the top table. Frankly, this is a slightly frustrating mind-set. You can’t ask for a seat on the board and you can’t ask to be trusted; you have to earn it. Why Public Relations has become a business critical function More 81.90% Less 18.10% Fig x. Is PR becoming more or less valued? 67% Yes, more than the last few years 31% It has maintained the same level of seriousness 3% No, less seriously than previously Fig x. Is PR becoming more or less valued? Fig 5. Is PR becoming more or less valued? The second is the need and desire for companies to uphold their reputation by behaving ethically so that they are trusted by the public, their employees and their customers. This has meant that the public relations department’s profile has increased internally; they are the ethical compass of the business. An effective PR department means that an organisation makes balanced decisions, not solely based on increased profits and decreased costs. Fig 6. Is PR taken seriously at Board level? Two things have happened that have enabled public relations practitioners to earn the trust of their corporate peers. The first is digital communications. The transparency and traceability of digital has enabled PR to show its impact.
  7. 7. 7 The following quotes are from a series of interviews conducted with in-house PR leaders. They describe how PR teams today must contribute to the businesses’ objectives, and how communicators must link their content and channel engagement to commercial results: Why Public Relations has become a Business Critical Function “We view ourselves more as reputational managers rather than PR managers. You need to think about how you can disintermediate your communications so you’re not reliant on media to deliver it for you.” Andy Smith, Head of Media Relations & Employee Communications, Santander PR is becoming more important as a corporate function. Corporate reputation is becoming better understood at the C-Suite level, including how much PR can contribute to the business, in terms of what a good reputation can deliver.“ Will Spiers, Global Public Relations Director, GE Healthcare “Within this business the role (of PR) is about helping to create centralised communications that are used in every single channel, so not just media relations but the help and support goes out to our front line teams in retail, customer service and digital, and to our B2B account managers, for small businesses and corporate.“ Howard Jones, Senior PR Manager, EE “The role of in-house communicators, more than ever before, is to hold the business to account. We are the conduits to the outside world and we can raise early warning flags to deliver change internally“. Gareth Mead, Head of Media Relations at Virgin Media
  8. 8. Future Proofing In-House PR Teams Like many business sectors, it is tempting for public relations to be very self-critical. Self-criticism is healthy, but it also needs to be balanced. There is a tendency for public relations practitioners to be relatively downbeat about the extent to which they have embraced the new reality - a world networked by social media and connected by digital communications. However, many of the trends shown in this report indicate that public relations has come a long way in a short space of time. Clearly PR will continue to evolve, and let’s not pretend corporate communications has reached some sort of utopia, but if you would compare skill sets and practices of public relations in-house teams today to those of three to five years ago there is a massive change. That said, the most in demand skills sets for PR people are the core functions of good media relations and the ability to write. So it seems if you cannot create good written content, or you are unable to empathise and build relationships with journalists, you are unlikely to have a successful in-house career in public relations. A skills audit of in-house PR teams Media relations experience/contacts Excellent copywriting Strategy and planning Social media content creation skills Creativity Integrated communications Stakeholder management Internal communications Social media monitoring and channel management Brand knowledge Agency management Public affairs People management Leadership Video/multi-media production Wider marketing skills Knowledge of SEO 88% 68% 50% 39% 38% 36% 30% 24% 22% 22% 14% 13% 11% 8% 6% 6% 4% 27% Activation 36% Content 29% Strategy/planning Fig 7. Time spent on activities Fig 8. What skills/knowledge are the most valuable in your team?
  9. 9. 9 When it comes to the most common personality types in in-house PR teams, people who are open-minded, get stuck in and learn by doing are the most prevalent (50% Activists), followed by those with a realistic view of the world and who put ideas into action (28% Pragmatists). Less common are Reflectors (6%) and Theorists (7%), which may be a result of the fast-paced nature of communications and the need to learn on the go and ‘fail forward’. 50% Activist 28% Pragmatist 10% None of the above 7% Theorist 6% Reflector Activist Activists are those people who learn by doing. Activists need to get their hands dirty, to dive in with both feet first. Have an open-minded approach to learning, involving themselves fully and without bias in new experiences. Theorist These learners like to understand the theory behind the actions. They need models, concepts and facts in order to engage in the learning process. Prefer to analyse and synthesise, drawing new information into a systematic and logical ‘theory’. Pragmatist These people need to be able to see how to put the learning into practice in the real world. Abstract concepts and games are of limited use unless they can see a way to put the ideas into action in their lives. Experimenters, trying out new ideas, theories and techniques to see if they work . Reflector These people learn by observing and thinking about what happened. They may avoid leaping in and prefer to watch from the side lines. Prefer to stand back and view experiences from a number of different perspectives, collecting data and taking the time to work towards an appropriate conclusion. A skills audit of in-house PR teams Fig 9. What are the most common characteristics in your PR team?
  10. 10. Future Proofing In-House PR Teams What are the most important skills for in-house teams in PR today? Quotes from our qualitative research: “There are two key skill sets that I search for when I am looking through CVs. One is evidence of some sort of sales experience. I think the ability to have the confidence in selling is absolutely critical. The other skill set usually derives from journalism. Writing, clearly, but it may be more broadcast than print.” Gareth Mead, Head of Media Relations, Virgin Media “Communication, communication, communication. I think this means having a certain level of confidence. PR people shouldn’t just pigeon hole themselves in thinking that PR is all about press relations. PR managers should see themselves as communications managers and be open to using all the tools that are available to them. I am obviously thinking of social media as a key part of that.” Perveen Akhtar, UK PR Manager Business & Consumer, Intel Corporation “In-house you have to think of all the other stakeholders that are in the business you are working in. You must also manage the potentially different expectations of those stakeholders. The different ways you communicate between those two groups is a real skill.” Howard Jones, Senior PR Manager, EE “It feels like patience today (laughs). But obviously it is the ability to translate complex messages into a format that will make sense to the media and the public so as to protect and promote your organisation.” Dee Cotgrove, Communications Director, Met Office “I am going to be controversial and not say social media. I think initiative, common sense and clarity of communication.” Alistair Smith, Managing Director, Corporate Communications - Group, Barclays “I would say getting to the essence of the story, opportunity spotting, risk spotting and building advocacy in others. You have to multiply what you do to have an effect.” Guy Middleton, Head of Corporate Communications, Three UK “The ability to provide advice and counsel is becoming more and more important. I think communicators now are positioning themselves as advisors rather than implementers. So it is no longer a service function but more an advisory function. I think having the skill sets to win those arguments and discussions is very important.” Andy Smith, Head of Media Relations & Employee Communications, Santander
  11. 11. 11 What are the most important skills for in-house teams in PR today? The role of the in-house public relations person has changed from relationship building and communicating with journalists to a two-way engagement, multichannel approach with numerous stakeholders. Modern public relations must incorporate active listening and proactive, tailored communications with channel specific content. Communicators today must understand the content consumption habits of their audiences and ensure they align the objectives of the communications campaign and their company. Public relations has become far more complicated today than in the past. This increased complexity requires a multi-layered approach, channel specific content, and C-suite buy-in to the role and the importance of public relations. Most in-house PR people today need to demonstrate that they have an impact upon the sales channels of their businesses and, increasingly, this requires an integrated approach alongside the rest of the marketing communications mix. “I would say that it is integrated marketing communications and digital capability. If you are a PR person that is only focused on media relations then you are really missing a trick. For me it is being able to look across the wider comms/marketing mix. I think PR nowadays has an integrated marketing communications skill set that maybe other traditional areas like advertising don’t have anymore. It means content creation, understanding of both on and offline channels and I think it means the ability to be able to connect the dots. I think you have to have a really strong understanding of messaging. And, as always, the ability to be the voice of the customer is absolutely critical.” Wander Bruijel, Head of Brand, Communications & Digital UK & Ireland, Philips
  12. 12. Future Proofing In-House PR Teams You’ve changed! The evolution of in-house PR teams The ability to make business better The trend has been for in-house public relations teams to manage an increased scope of their role. Nowhere has this enlarged responsibility been more evident than in the financial services sector where businesses have faced a consumer backlash because of the financial crisis. As a result, financial services firms have prioritised, invested in and increased in size their communications departments. The increased breadth of the communications function is evidenced by Santander’s Andy Smith, Head of Media Relations & Employee Communications, when he points out that one of his responsibilities is to liaise with the risk department because: “Reputational risks are one of the things the FSA insist on you reporting on. So I get four or five reports every week asking “if banks do this does it carry a reputational risk?” and I have to make an assessment.” When you consider that this is happening alongside the product and brand communications, it demonstrates the extent of activity within a modern PR department. Greater insight will create improved products and improved organisation results In any job, if you don’t know why you’re doing an activity it should cause you, your team and indeed your boss great concern. For too long some in-house public relations professionals have not been concise or sufficiently accurate in their analytics and measurement relative to their objectives. The trends already discussed in this report - namely digital technologies, social channels, two way stakeholder engagement and the importance of content - combined with the recent difficult economic times have meant that in-house public relations leaders must now show how their performance has impacted on the business objectives. When asked what departments she had the most amount of contact with, Perveen Akhtar, UK PR Manager Business & Consumer of Intel Corporation says: “In the UK we work in very close collaboration with marketing, and we are also very strongly aligned with the sales guys.” The improved opportunity for impact, transparency and the improved speed of analytical feedback has meant campaigns can be adjusted and messaging altered very quickly. There is also potential for stakeholder communications to feed into product development. This trend is clearest when a company’s customer relations department, product team and communications department communicate daily to improve products and services. This is another example of public relations’ increasing importance to business.
  13. 13. 13 Integration as standard Integration has become critical in any marketing communications campaign and our research indicates that in-house teams are perhaps ahead of many agencies in this regard. The advantages to companies when ensuring their messaging and communications are part of the connected and integrated campaign are pretty clear, both from an effectiveness and from a cost saving perspective. You’ve changed! The evolution of in-house PR teams The need, therefore, for in-house communicators to liaise with marketing, customer services departments and product teams is clear. The evidence in this report suggests that this co-ordination between in-house departments is happening, when relevant. This is clearly a very positive change. The extent of integration does depend on the objectives of the communications department. If your objective is to help the business sell stuff, then increased co-ordination with marketing may be necessary. However, if your primary goal is, as a communications department, to uphold the reputation of the business, you are far more likely to require daily interaction with the CEO. When asked which internal department he had the most contact with, Will Spiers, Global Public Relations Director, GE Healthcare states that: “It really depends where you sit. I would say the product marketing guys would be first for most (people) but not for me. For the corporate PR team it is mostly the CEO or the business leadership. But for my whole team the balance would be my commercial guys. It would be more the product marketing teams.” Media relations External copy Integrated comms Ideas generation Social media (multi media) Issues Events Internal copy Social management Internal comms Agency management Community relations Strategic consultancy Public affairs Sponsorships 72% 68% 90% 61% 49% 39% 36% 36% 32% 31% 24% 22% 21% 17% 83% Fig 10. What are the most important activities for in-house PR people?
  14. 14. Future Proofing In-House PR Teams 38% Sales 49% Marketing 61% The Board 60% Digital/Social Media 22% Product Development 39% Human Resources 55% Customer Service 2% Research & Development Fig 11. What departments/teams do you work most closely with? Weekly & daily contact: Consumers Businesses Corporate/The City Business & Consumers Consumers and business Education Legal, political Local community Patients Residents Public, and policy-specific partners Stakeholder organisations & industry bodies Stakeholders Students The general public UK population Trade union The public Fig 12. Primary audiences for in-house PR teams
  15. 15. 15 Future 2020 in-house teams Surprisingly, given the increased scope of most modern communications departments, only 25% of in-house leaders believe that their teams will grow in the next 3-5 years. 68% said that their departments were likely to remain the same. Future 2020 in-house teams 65% 25%25% 15%15% 10%10% 30%30% Media relationsSocial media content creation skillsCreativityVideo/multi-media productionIntegrated communicationsSocial media monitoring and channel managementStrategy and planningPublic affairsOthers The quantitative research suggested that in-house teams spent the most amount of their time on strategy and planning while they were most likely to outsource media relations (65%), social media content creation (30%) and creativity (30%.) These are interesting trends and have implications for the agency market. PR agencies presumably want to move up the value chain, and PR agency revenue growth and recruitment trends would suggest that they are succeeding in this approach. However, the data in this report suggests that the strategy is likely to be completed in-house, implementation is more likely to be outsourced. Fig 13. What work will you outsource to agencies over the next 2-5 years?
  16. 16. Future Proofing In-House PR Teams Conclusion The type of personalities that were most common in PR teams was very revealing. According to this research Activists make the best PR people. By definition “Activists need to get their hands dirty, to dive in with both feet first. Have an open-minded approach to learning, involving themselves fully and without bias in new experiences.” While all teams require a balance, bearing in mind that PR is a business function that is in transition, the fact that Activists are prominent, should perhaps not come as a surprise. There are some macro trends that mean that the in-house public relations departments must have a wider scope of influence. These macro trends include digital technologies, the rise of social networking and the importance of creating engaging content. New technologies have increased the potential of public relations to help the C-suite improve a business or organisation. Two way engagement, made possible through digital and social technologies, has amplified the importance of PR as a business tool. This has meant that communications can improve products and identify market opportunities. The integration of marketing has never been more important and there is no doubt that good public relations can empower marketing to make it far more effective. While the potential of public relations as a business tool to help create income has never been greater, it is also true to say that the role of PR as a protector of the business is more important than ever.
  17. 17. 17 The future of in-house teams Quotes from our qualitative research The future of in-house teams “Social media has had a massive impact on PR. Most good practitioners have adapted and got on board; but PR is going to change even more. There is a real debate brewing about the whole paid vs earned media and PR is very much at the centre of that. The boundaries and lines are beginning to get blurred. In-house PRs who work with marketing teams have got an opportunity to influence the message of paid content. PR is in a position of influence to build a narrative and a message that is credible.” Perveen Akhtar, UK PR Manager Business & Consumer, Intel Corporation “If you’ve got a background in PR you are in a good place because you should have the skill set and ability to look across various channels. Free publicity, (and I hate to use that phrase), has become about integrating content and messaging across multiple channels. PR people through their experience, education and by their very nature, are the voice of the external customer or consumer and that is a skill that translates across all these different channels.” Wander Bruijel, Head of Brand, Communications & Digital UK & Ireland, Philips “The experience of the last 7/8 years has shown that your communications and PR are enormously important. Therefore PR is more strategically important than it was pre-crises, especially because people have seen what confidence and reputation, or lack of, can do.” Alistair Smith, Managing Director, Corporate Communications - Group, Barclays “PR will become more integrated with digital and online. The blurring of the lines between things will continue.” Mark Smith, PR and Public Affairs Manager, Deloitte LLP “I don’t think PR has changed at all. I still think it is there to protect and promote an organisation. But where it has been enhanced is in the power it has to do that - such as the tools that social media has afforded us - because in PR we can now talk directly to the public and hold the media to account in a way we were never able to do pre-social media.” Dee Cotgrove, Communications Director, Met Office
  18. 18. Future Proofing In-House PR Teams The agency perspective – Angie Moxham, Chief Monkey How have you found the demands of clients have changed since 3 Monkeys started in 2003? For 3 Monkeys, the demands haven’t changed in essence; more the channels of influence. We’ve always offered and been asked to deliver strategic reputational counsel and delivery through earned channels. In 2003 this was clearly more geared towards traditional earned media. As social and digital channels have grown exponentially, so has our and our clients’ thinking and propositions. I don’t think our discipline has matured, more our stakeholders’ understanding of the importance and role of PR. This has again been helped by the rise of social and digital channels. With these channels, there’s nowhere to hide; and that’s where the ability to understand and deliver the science and art of storytelling and influence – PR’s core skill – is the most pivotal and critical for a business, brand or individual’s reputation. How have agencies adapted their client services to this change? Of course; massively. We’re now offering complete end to end storytelling services, sometimes through the line. The line is only blurring further, so this provides a huge opportunity and threat to PR agencies. There are many advertising and media buying agencies now offering earned media capabilities too. It will be fascinating, challenging - and fun - to watch how this plays out over time. How do you see the PR agency: client relationship evolving over the next 2/3 years? For enlightened clients, more proper partnering so that consultancies are truly integrated into the business and the other marketing and communications disciplines, boardroom to newsroom. I also think clients will look to buy more specific services rather than one, all-encompassing offer – be that strategic planning, creative concept development, or simply outsourced community management or news room services. How has the need for multi-channel engagement changed the nature of public relations? I think it has put PR more front and centre of newsroom marketing and communications. In increasing instances, we’re the lens through which all marketing and communication is shone. That’s because we’re the experts at advising on what’s best in class, in both appropriate and joined up content, since we get storytelling better than any other discipline. This comes from years of being in the saddle with the world’s most cynical media who require a compelling elevator story pitch; quickly followed by a robust retort to a challenging Spanish Inquisition about the story we’re trying to land. We have the potential customer perspectives nailed before we even get out of the block. PR thinking is unique in the marketing communications mix since it has to promote and protect in equal measures. How can public relations agencies help businesses create end-to-end engagement with their external customers? By allowing us all - in house and consultancy side), to be privy to and counsel on all marketing and communications. Good clients brief all their agencies in the same room at the same and sensible time, and welcome challenge from all disciplines and perspectives. In this model, full integration is achieved, both in terms of compelling, consistent content, and multi/multiple-channel activation.
  19. 19. 19 Conclusion Watch this space…
  20. 20. www. 3 - m o n k e y s . c o . u k

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