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Smart Thinking blog

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Outside looking in

Supporting in-house teams and communications excellence

Communiqué Awards in-house team healthcare communications

As I chowed down on my confit duck at the 20th Communiqué Awards, someone asked me why as an agency we sponsor the ‘In-House Team of the Year’ category.

In fact, Pegasus has sponsored this category for the last seven years, but I have to admit I’d never clearly articulated our reasons for this to anyone. Until now!

Sponsoring this category is one way of recognising excellence amongst those working internally within health organisations.

Just ask yourself this: how often do you hear an agency tell their clients what a great job they’ve done? Why is it that - despite all the advances and positive change in our industry - the client-agency relationship sometimes still feels so ‘buyer-provider’-like?

So I want to call out some of the elements that make up a winning in-house team. Wary of the risk of sounding sycophantic, and of my status as an outsider looking in, I’m going to draw these observations from the Communiqué judges who’ve determined the winners of this important category over the years.

Firstly, winners are regularly commended for championing the power of communications at the highest levels of their organisation, not just by delivering great campaigns but also by linking these campaigns back to business impact.

We know that as an industry this has long been our Achilles heel as other, easier to measure elements of the sales and marketing mix steal the lion’s share of attention and budget. But the best of the best go the extra mile to articulate the value of their work. They understand the strategic direction of their company and respond with solutions, even before they are asked for them.

Secondly, building strong connections with audiences is a common trait of winning teams. Whether it’s a team of five or 50, through good times and bad, an effective in-house unit is adept in prioritising where and on whom their time is best spent, and where it’s ok to outsource relationship management (answer = in exceptional circumstances only).

With the workforce trend of short tenures persisting, the best teams are fostering trusting and lasting relationships that are not just built between individuals, but also converge to form a sense of connection to the company/ brand behind them too.

Ever more important as we move towards omni-channel approaches, the best teams will also have a clear and consistent style on how they interact across audiences. All of which means that when the proverbial hits the fan, as it so often does in a sector that literally deals with life and death, these teams are well prepared to respond.

The clue is in the name for the last trait of winning in-house teams. Yep, you guessed it – it’s teamwork. As with so many best practice examples in any field, teamwork is the magic ingredient that elevates something from good to outstanding.

The judges of this award have consistently pointed to those attributes that, taken together, make up great teamwork as a fundamental driver of success. Having each other’s back, playing to individual strengths, role definition and co-ordination are all essential. But above all else, a sense that each team member is committed, passionate, and enjoying their work.

Something to aspire to, I think you’ll agree. So hats off to the winners of this category, past and present. The campaign categories at Communiqué celebrate the shared work of companies and their agency teams. But it’s equally important to call out what each party brings to the table, and that’s why we sponsor this award.

You’ve heard the long-running joke about someone transitioning from in-house to agency (or vice versa) as ‘joining the dark side’. I prefer to see it as a case of light and shade that blends well together.

Article by
Jo Spadaccino

Board director and head of pharma and life sciences at Pegasus

13th July 2017

From: Marketing

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