Arthur W. Page Society

Moving Communications to the Center of Company Strategy

This post is sponsored by PublicRelay as part of the Page Patrons program.  

Recently, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to moderate a conversation with Lauren Day (CCO) and Allyson Hugley (VP of Analytics of Market Research) of Prudential as part of the Page Patrons webinar series dedicated to the best practices in CommTech.  Prudential is a client of ours at PublicRelay, and together we set out to share how communications analytics can elevate the communications function within any company.  How are leading communicators approaching their data partnerships? More importantly, how can communications turn quality measurement into real, forward-looking intelligence? 

The entire conversation is worth a listen, as Lauren and Allyson are dynamic speakers with true vision - weaving strategic insights with useful, engaging anecdotes.  Here are a few of the key takeaways:  

  1. At Prudential, the role of communications has moved from a listening function to an intelligence organization. As Day put it, “How do you go from measuring what you’ve done to informing where you should be going?” One crucial aspect of becoming an intelligence organization is building deep, active partnerships with almost every part of the business. Co-investing in software tools with Marketing, for instance, should be only the first of many steps towards sharing complementary insights on a regular basis.
  2. This intelligence is only useful in service of clear, compelling goals. Answering these questions requires that vendor relationships around CommTech should be partnerships in the full sense of the word. As Hugley said, “It’s often the first question we get, what tools do you use? But you need to think about the team and talent surrounding the technology, both internally and within your data partners.” The best analytics providers will be sources of consistent innovation for your function.
  3. CommTech done well can be transformative, but it’s important to maintain a wholistic approach. Team, talent, and tech investments create real change - not simply software purchases. “The worst mistake I made early on was investing in tools without concurrent (and sometimes bigger) resourcing in talent. And it’s a team of talent, combining the data analytics track with the news judgement, that really makes a difference,” Day stated.
  4. Quality data is the foundation of an intelligence-focused communications strategy. Other parts of the business may already have systems and databases for your team to leverage. However, it’s vital that measures of communications success are tailored for communications. As Hugley suggested on the webinar, outdated metrics like AVE strove to fit communications into a marketing or sales-centric structure. This fails to properly value the benefits created by excellent communicators to a broad set of stakeholders.
  5. One internal tactic that Day recommended communicators adopt today: start requiring briefs. For any project or task, have the team member in charge write a short brief in advance of the work. What are the goals? How do we define success? These short, written proposals are immensely helpful in properly scoping work items. They can also inspire team members to keep the business objectives in mind on a daily basis.It's clear from these two leaders that having the right data partners is an essential piece of the CommTech puzzle. Even so, moving from retrospective measurement to forward-looking analysis can be a tricky process. Investments in technology are destined to underdeliver if they aren’t paired with investments of time and resources in the talent around the tool. Of course, what you measure is even more important than how you measure – it’s worth striving to find ways to value high-level communications in its own context, rather than adopting metrics from other business functions.

The team at PublicRelay is honored to be an active contributor to the Page community.  We have dedicated our work and our technology to bring quality, trusted analytics to the best communicators in the business.  If you’d like to have a discussion about how we can help you elevate your CommTech execution, please drop me a note:

About Page Patrons

A Page Patron is a leading solution provider that, in exchange for sponsorship of Page, works with us to educate members about how tools and services like theirs help enable world-class communications capabilities. For more information, please contact us.

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