SINGAPORE — Communications is lagging behind other disciplines like sales and marketing when it comes to digital transformation, the PRovoke Asia-Pacific Summit heard yesterday.
Upskilling staff, aligning with other functions, selling in ideas internally, using the available technology and finding relevant metrics all form ‘pain points’ communicators need to address internally and externally, said Okta comms chief Jennifer Alejandro.
‘Many in-house teams are still bound by traditional metrics, but it’s starting to change,’ she observed. ‘Some KPIs will stay as traditional measures, others will move either onto shared KPIs with other functions like marketing and sales.’
Harold Li, VP at ExpressVPN added that those coming from an agency or traditional environment can learn from digital-first organisations by increasing data literacy and transparency within the organisation.
He called for a cultural shift, saying having digital tools in place is not enough if organisations are scared to use them to make information more freely available.
‘Part of the expectation younger colleagues in particular have is for organisations to be decentralised and transparent, without information held by somebody who chooses what to release.’
This transparency needs to be reflected with agencies too. ‘Our agency teams are all on our company Slack and if they’re coming to us saying IT won’t let us install Slack, or we’re not prepared to use it, the relationship isn’t going to work.’
Li added that when it comes to metrics, PR professionals need to ‘resist the pressure’ to continue to look for new metrics and ask for buy-in from senior leadership into softer metrics that demonstrate the value of the discipline.
He described an initiative in his previous role at Uber in which the comms team developed ways of measuring relationship-building with key stakeholders, including metrics such as WhatsApp contact and non work-related conversations.
‘We built these metrics because relationships are inherently valuable, but we can’t prove that in dollars.’
Alejandro and Li were speaking at a session chaired by Joe Peng, chief digital officer for APAC at BCW.