The Spark

Office dwellers favour face-to-face communications again, the UK’s spending more time on TikTok than any other country in the world, and why we’re championing digital PR… Discover the insights that have got the team talking this month.

A return to the office

At the end of last month, Virgin Media O2 Business published its inaugural Annual Movers Index, which revealed that companies are returning to the office in their droves. It found that four in 10 companies have returned to a five-day office working week, with 52% of employees saying they prefer to go to the office for work. It’s interesting to see this trend of returning to the office. Following the pandemic, it was established that many companies could continue with 'business as usual', even if all staff were home-working. In the years after, there’s been far more allowance for colleagues to continue to perform their roles remotely – in fact, it’s been perceived as the preference of many staff. But this latest report shows that people are beginning to put a higher value on face-to-face communications. 

As a communications agency, we continue to support flexible and remote working, but agree that, sometimes, there’s a real need for in-person discussions, particularly when brainstorming ideas internally or building relationships with clients. 

Louise Jaggar, operations manager

The state of digital

The Digital 2024 Global Overview Report was released last month and has kept the team talking. The report, published by We Are Social and Meltwater, provides an insightful guide to the evolving digital landscape. It found that the number of social media users in the UK was the equivalent of 82.8% of the total population. And we’ve also topped the charts as the country spending the most time on TikTok – more time than any other country in the world. Meanwhile, digital formats accounted for 79.7% of total UK ad spend in 2023 – an impressive £34.7bn was spent. But interestingly, only 8% of internet users aged 16-64 said they felt represented in advertising, which is a steep fall of 14% year-on-year. Do you know if your content resonates with your audience? Read the Digital 2024 report findings applicable to the UK. 

Lauren Spencer, PR executive

A matter of urgency 

We can’t stress enough the importance of ‘speed’ where timely PR and social campaigns are concerned. For reactive campaigns that need to hit hard, in real time, and provide a voice on current events and just-landed news, time is of the essence – but many moving parts need to align for a successful reactive campaign. For example, creative teams and writers assemble, before internal sign off (and often external sign off too) is required. If any one component is delayed, that golden opportunity to speak out in a space you know you have authority can be missed or, worse, there’s a risk of appearing slow off the mark. But with everyone on the same page and all working towards the same end goal, the benefits of reactive campaigns are vast. Brands appear relevant, with their finger on the pulse, and, importantly, know to get involved in conversations that matter to their audiences and customers – returning increased engagement, and trust, and further boosting brand reputation. 

Grace Lenihan, account director 

User-generated content for the win

While many believe that user-generated content (UGC) may have had its day, we’d beg to differ. UGC is unpaid content created and published by brand customers and fans. It takes the form of reviews, testimonials, photos and blog posts, among others. UGC is authentic and demonstrates loyalty to your brand. Most importantly, it’s trusted – your customers become your biggest advocates and most genuine spokespeople. UGC has authenticity and loyalty-building capabilities that brand-owned or paid content often can’t compete with. In marketing and communications, we’re looking to provide that sweet spot; the seamless customer journey in which varying types of content are crafted to meet a customer at every touchpoint – so UGC is far from a passing trend. 

Lauren Boyles, PR executive 

Demonstrating the power of digital PR 

Hint: it’s not a revenue generator per se, which means it can often be hard for PR teams to secure buy-in from the wider business. However, the value of digital PR for brand promotion shouldn’t be underestimated. Digital PR brings together vital components of a marketing strategy with traditional PR tactics at its heart. By creating impactful content and sharing it with relevant media, it’s about generating brand awareness and gaining high-quality backlinks to your website, boosting your search engine ranking. Digital PR goes hand in hand with SEO. By building links to highly authoritative websites, brands improve their authority (and perceived expertise) in their landscape, which in turn is rewarded in the SERPs. Increased visibility, presence and authority – that’s the power of digital PR.

Kirstie Wilson, PR account director

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