How PR is getting ‘back to work’ this September

Many experience a back-to-school feeling in September, especially this year, as for many it is the first time in a long time that they are working in an actual office building. It is also a key time in PR, gearing up for Christmas and the end of the year. We asked agency chiefs about how they feel this September and the goals they are setting for the last quarter of 2021.

It is full steam ahead!

Gavin Finney, head of content at agency Aduro Communications: “The last 18 months have been a series of back-to-schools, and returning to the office for the first time this year definitely felt like an awkward playground moment... ‘Ah, that’s what you look like outside a computer screen, I remember.’ But it quickly passed. Shared energy and ideas refilled the tank almost instantly, and it’s full steam ahead for 2022 planning because, yes, this is absolutely a crucial time for us to set the agenda for the year(s) ahead with our clients. That’s the kind of challenge we all relish. And we’re constantly trying to push ourselves by adding new skills that widen our offering, especially when it comes to content and moving image. By focusing on our culture and each other we’ve all found a lovely fresh rhythm, which is flexible enough for a twirl or a spin, but never misses a step.” 

We are making plans

Hilary Davies, head of corporate at communications agency M&C Saatchi Talk: “September is when we shift our focus onto planning for the year ahead. And, for the first time in a while, with many clients and sectors, we’re in a position to draw up strategies that will be relevant six - even 12- months from now. Of course, there will always be a need for agility and flexibility in approaches and activity to reflect the current political, economic, and social landscapes. The scale and pace of change experienced during Covid has helped us sharpen our game in this space, establishing new working norms and greater influence for communications within business planning which we can carry into the future with us.”

I am setting personal and business objectives

Chris Norton, managing director of agency Prohibition PR: “To get myself re-energised and ready for the final quarter of the year, I tend to recheck our business objectives for that quarter and look at the company results to see what we need to do to hit our targets. I then take a look at my team’s personal objectives and see how we can align them so they get upskilled and trained, as this benefits both the business and the employees themselves.”

It is important to recognise small achievements

Christ Norton: “I also think it is really important to recognise the little things in PR and the smaller successes the team achieve daily, such as securing a great piece for a new client. If we can recognise the small things in PR as well as the wider business targets, everyone tends to feel more motivated and ready to take on the coming months in the run up to Christmas.”

It is time to focus on saving the planet

Melissa Hobson, freelance PR consultant for sustainable and for-purpose organisations: "As a PR consultant in the conservation and sustainability sector, it feels like things are really ramping up (although August was busy too - whatever happened to silly season?). Awareness of the climate crisis has been steadily growing but, in September, this is only increasing. With the recent IPCC report confirming the climate crisis is ‘unequivocally’ caused by humans and COP26 coming up, I'm anticipating intense months ahead. “It's exciting to see so many organisations realising they need to go green but I hope they're making science-based changes throughout their supply chains as well as making commitments in their comms. As PR professionals, we know media coverage is powerful, but these commitments must be backed up with action. I'm excited about helping my clients shout about what they are doing and expect I’ll need plenty of (ethically-sourced, sustainable) coffee to keep me going!".

There is a lot to get our teeth into!

Shimon Cohen, chairman of agency The PR Office: “September is always an interesting month in PR with a variety of media focuses. Post vay- and stay-cations, back to school, the end of parliamentary recess and beginning of party conference season and, of course, the build-up to Christmas. This year, we have the added focus of Afghanistan, an upcoming parliamentary debate on the future of HS2 and next month’s climate summit. We have Manchester United with the return of Ronaldo and Chelsea with the return of Lukaku. We have the return of live sport, live events and some hybrid form of a return to the office life. So, in September, as many of us return refreshed after a break, we won’t need motivational tricks. It’s all laid out before us to take advantage of and utilise for our clients.”

It is an exciting time right now, albeit an exhausting on in PR. The good news is that there are only three months to go until Christmas and most importantly, Strictly Come Dancing will soon be back on our TV screens!