Source: R3 2022/23 China PR Scope Study Executive Summary Report The Seventh Edition
According to R3’s latest PR scope study, in-house public relations teams in China are experiencing more synergies, as 43% of marketing and PR teams of 109 brands in China reported some degree of integration last year.
Increasing consumer scrutiny of marketing content and product endorsements, and government efforts to educate citizens on environmental, social and governance (ESG), corporate social responsibility (CSR) and data privacy, has made PR a crucial role of marketing in China.
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- In-house resources have experienced some degree of integration. Among the surveyed in-house teams, 29.9% said that PR and marketing are merged, 11.7% said that at the group level, PR function is independent, while PR and marketing at the brand level are merged; 1.3% said PR and social were merged into one department.
- Marketers are more satisfied with the performance of their PR agencies, compared to other agencies. The relationship between marketers and their PR agencies are more stable compared to creative, media, digital and BTL agencies in China. 78% of marketers are not planning to change their PR agencies in the near future.
- International agencies take an integrated view, while local agencies are digital specialists. Local agencies in China are stronger at understanding and strategic thinking of ecommerce ecosystem, meeting social media needs of brands, and providing breakthrough & original creative thinking, while international agencies are good at international network and crisis management, tackling the changing social trend, project management/scheduling/budgeting and holistic communication perspectives.
- Top KPIs for PR's agency's performance in China for effectiveness is view/click/engagement while quality and quantity of media reports are getting larger impact for brands in 2022.
- The biggest challenge for China’s marketers will be to create innovative content across channels that drives business results. So PR agencies can differentiate and enhance competitiveness by highlighting service capabilities, innovation, and resources. More than 18% of marketers surveyed want to see their PR agencies be more responsive to business and market opportunities and challenges. 17% want to see innovative thinking in the form of timely solutions to hot topics, and agility in response to industry trends.
- Companies need to be flexible and agile to adapt to changes. Pandemic-related restrictions and force majeure events made enterprise risk management a priority for China’s marketers. In 2022, 46% of planned marketing campaigns had to stop and shift to online platforms (vs. 29% in 2021), with more focus given to precision marketing (+5%).
- PR agencies need to show more strategic thinking and planning skills for CSR and ESG related PR campaigns, which are crucial for shaping brand image. Many multi-national companies lead communication and promotion activities in this area. Only 10% of marketers say they are not currently launching CSR/ESG related events in China, while 6% saying they are not currently, but will be in the future.
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