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2018: How do we continue to demonstrate our ‘value add’?

Demonstrating our value add as in-house communications practitioners internally, as well as externally, is likely to stay top of mind for many within the industry. Not only will we continue striving to change the perception of the communications and PR industry as a whole but also how valued our teams are as a function within the organisations we work for.

As an in-house communications professional for a global and complex investment management firm, I am constantly considering how to add the most value the firm I work for and most effectively support the business through strategic communications. I believe that our role as communicators is to position, promote and most importantly, protect our firms and their reputations. Warren Buffett once famously said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently.” I believe that doing things differently, doing them well, with conviction and with integrity is a key part of demonstrating our value to our stakeholders.

In-house communicators (as well as some agencies) live and breathe the cultures of the companies we work for, represent externally and speak on behalf of day in, day out. We understand our industries, our firms’ strategy, core values, people, regulations, products and clients. We engage regularly and directly with senior management and we have the priceless opportunity to develop very intricate understandings of our firms. This allows us to advise and provide counsel to the best of our ability by looking at the bigger picture just as much as we look at the detail. By getting these simple points right, our role can gain significant value within our firms as we learn to communicate our firms’ strategy naturally and effectively.

In 2018 and beyond, I believe, as communications professionals, we will need to continue educating those around us to understand what our role is and how we support the strategic goals of our businesses. This entails being experts in our fields, understanding our firms’ visions as well as our end clients and markets, and being seen as trusted and credible spokespeople.

Taking the investment management industry as an example, which is undergoing rapid and significant change, our role as communication practitioners will become ever more crucial as we continue to communicate our relevance to investors, savers and the public in general. With this in mind, it will also be important to maintain a bird's eye view on our industry, stay on top of developments within our markets and continue to innovate the ways in which we communicate.