So, what is the state of communications in 2013? It's getting harder... and the favourite cake is chocolate. Here's our annual survey.
by Dan Slee
A gaggle of geese, a pride of lions... and a chocolate cake of comms people. That was one of the verdicts of the annual survey.
We asked UK people who worked in the sector to take part and more than 220 of us did.
In a closely fought battle the top choice of cake was a two way fight with chocolate (31.8 per cent) which narrowly beating carrot (28.4 per cent) to the title.
But what were the other conclusions? It's a challenging time to be involved with communications. We're faced with major changes that's part exciting, part terrifying and never dull. The internet is revolutionsing the sector just as its doing the same to the media landscape. In other places times are hard as the cuts bite.
We staged a poll last year. You can read the 2012 figures here.
Here are some bullet points for 2013:
Comms is a sector under threat with 31 per cent of people thinking their team is going to get smaller in 2014. That's compared to 19 per cent who think its going to grow.
Digital will grow. 81.9 per cent say they think they'll be doing more digital communications in 2014.
Social media is fragmenting. In the 2012 survey just 10 platforms were being used while now that's trebled to more than 30.
Twitter and Facebook dominate. Almost 100 per cent of people are using them. Flickr's position falls from 3rd to 5th.
Sweets are being shared. Organisations which allow people outside the comms team remain similar in number 74.3 per cent this year said they do compared to 72.8 per cent last year.
Press releases aren't going away - yet. Coca Cola caused waves when they anounced plans to stop issuing press releases. That's not being replicated across the poll with 62. 3 per cent saying they'd be writing the same number (it was 62.0 per cent last year) and 18.6 per saying they'll write more (compared to 14 per cent) with 19.1 per cent to write less (24 per cent in 2012.)
Social media skills are more prized than press release writing. What is fascinating are the skills people look for in a comms person. Less than half would look for an ability to write a press release (48.3 per cent) which was the least prized skill in the list of five. People are most likely to look for an ability to use social media (79.2 per cent). This closely mirrors the 2012 survey (48.3 per cent and 79.2 per cent.)
It's getting harder. But fewer people think so. 61.6 per cent think that comms is getting harder. That compares to 67.9 per cent last year.
Here's the raw data:
Q: We thought we’d take a look at the state of public relations in the UK 2013 as well as get some feedback on what we do at comms2point0. Firstly, about you. This is open to people living and working in the UK. Do you work in public sector, private sector or third sector?
Public sector 64.6 per cent
Private sector 18.8 per cent
Third Sector 11.7 per cent
Freelance 4.5 per cent
Q: If you work in a comms team or an agency, has your team got smaller this year?
Yes 36.2 per cent
No 31.0 per cent
Stayed the same 32.9 per cent
Q: And if you work in a comms team do you expect your team to get smaller next year, too?
Smaller 31.0 per cent
Bigger 19.7 per cent
Stay the same 49.3 per cent
Q: Tell us about the job you do. Are you mainly...
A press officer 12.7 per cent
A marketing person 11.8 per cent
A communications person 59.5 per cent
An internal communications person 12.3 per cent
Q: Okay, does your organisation plan to do less, more or the same digital communications - such as social media - over the next 12 months?
More 81.9 per cent
Less 1.4 per cent
Stay the Same 16.7 per cent
Q: Which digital channels do your organisation use? (Last year's position in the 2012 poll is in brackets)
1. Twitter (1) 98.2 per cent
2. Facebook (2) 91.0 per cent
3. YouTube (NEW) 80.3 per cent
4. LinkedIn (4) 59.6 per cent
5. Flickr (3) 39.6 per cent
6. Pinterest (6=) 27.4 per cent
7. Google Plus (5) 23.3 per cent
8. Instagram (7) 17.9 per cent
9. Vimeo (NEW) 16.6 per cent
10. Vine (NEW) 13.9 per cent
11. Audioboo (6=) 11.2 per cent
12. Soundcloud (8) 5.8 per cent
13. Yammer (NEW) 3.8 per cent
14. Thunderclap (NEW) 3.6 per cent
15. Slideshare (NEW) 1.2 per cent
16. N0tice (10) 0.9 per cent
17. Foursquare (NEW) 0.9 per cent
17. Storify (NEW) 0.9 per cent
17. WordPress (NEW) 0.9 per cent
18. Blogger (NEW) 0.4 per cent
18. Bambuser (NEW) 0.4 per cent
18. Scribd (NEW) 0.4 per cent
18. Mailchimp (NEW) 0.4 per cent
18. Quora (9) 0.4 per cent
18. Splash (NEW) 0.4 per cent
18. Thinglink (NEW) 0.4 per cent
18. Vizify (NEW) 0.4 per cent
18. Tumblr (NEW) 0.4 per cent
18. wideo (NEW) 0.4 per cent
18. Puffel (NEW) 0.4 per cent
18. Streetlife (NEW) 0.4 per cent
18. Glassdoor (NEW) 0.4 per cent
Q: Does your organisation allow non-communications people to use digital channels to communicate on behalf of the organisation?
Yes 74.3 per cent
No 18.5 per cent
I just don't know 1.8 per cent
Q: Thinking about press releases, does your organisation plan to write the same number as last year, about the same or less?
About the same 62. 3 per cent
Less 19.1 per cent
More 18.6 per cent
Q: If you were hiring tomorrow what skills would you look for? (choose more than one if you need to)
An ability to use social media 68.8 per cent
Personal skills 66.1 per cent
An ability to plan a campaign 65.2 per cent
An ability to act with tact and diplomacy 54.3 per cent
An ability to write a press release 33.5 per cent
Q: Is public relations and communications getting harder or easier (and can you tell us why?)
Harder 61.6 per cent
Don't know 21.3 per cent
Easier17.1 per cent
Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.