Telum Talks To… Amanda Chia, Director of Corporate Partnerships, APAC at Tigerhall
This week, Telum caught up with Amanda Chia, who is the Director of Corporate Partnerships, APAC at Tigerhall, as she shares the different ways learning and development for PR and comms professionals can help boost business opportunities, how millennials have changed the way of learning, and points out the critical skills that are increasingly in demand in the comms world.
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Why do you think upskilling and reskilling is important for professionals in the comms and PR industry?
An increasing number of clients are looking for a full suite of marcomms services, rather than solely a mandate that consists of media relations and other PR tactics. Therefore, our friends in the comms industry must widen their skill sets and be well-versed with strategies typically used in marketing such as digital, programmatic, influencer relations and more. This will be crucial to client acquisition and retention, so we’re talking about business impact here.
The emergence of big data is also something that no industry can ignore, let alone our colleagues in comms. More professionals need to hone the ability to ask the right questions out of the data at our disposal and provide quality counsel to clients and internal stakeholders.
It’s also important to stay updated with the increasing number of developments that we see in the communications landscape today. Consumers in different countries communicate through unique and different channels, for instance. With more agencies and in-house comms departments dealing with clients and stakeholders across the region, there is a need to be aware of how to navigate these channels effectively.
Do you feel that more comms professionals have begun to take their development more seriously as it becomes increasingly accessible?
Comms professionals have always been hungry to grow but based on my conversations with my friends in the industry, the lack of time tends to be a barrier. Those in agencies, for example, typically work long and action-packed days as they juggle various accounts simultaneously.
Yes, the amount of learning content out there is limitless, but it becomes insignificant if consumers don’t have the time to learn. Studies have shown that professionals today typically have 24 minutes to learn a week. That’s why we need to rethink how we package learning content which professionals can consume during the limited pockets of their free time, such as on the commute to work, during lunch break and, for the ladies, while applying makeup in the morning. Only then can we make those 24 minutes count.
How should companies adjust their learning and development strategies to millennials?
Firstly, we have to take into consideration that this is a generation that grew up with technology, mobile apps, and other innovative platforms, and this has shaped some unique attributes and consumption habits that are typically seen in millennials. Just take a look at how entertainment content is packaged to cater to the shrinking attention spans of consumers today. That is something that decision makers must take note of because those long seminars and dry e-learning courses might not engage millennial employees. It would be more effective if learning content can be packaged into bite-sized formats that are more actionable and direct, making it engaging for our millennial colleagues to learn.
Millennials are also well known for their desire for instant gratification. They want the ease and convenience of getting what they want now and through a swipe on their smartphones. This is where we can provide them with on-demand learning. A marcomms executive looking for tips to run an online campaign, for instance, should be able to access a succinct and yet actionable piece of content immediately so that he or she can crack on with the job.
It’s important we get this right because the introduction of the Gen Zs into our offices is not very long away either!
What do you think are the most critical skills for organisations in the comms and PR industry to nurture in today’s shifting work environment?
The ability to leverage on data to shape strategies and provide counsel to clients (for those in agencies) and internal stakeholders (for those working in-house) is a crucial one. Attention should also be placed on essential skills such as communicating to clients and stakeholders, leading teams, stakeholder management and agility.
Finally, what's on your wish list to upskill in if money and time isn’t a constraint?
I want to be well-versed with tech-enabled business tools and learn about every single one of them. Advanced data analytics and predictive modelling are a couple of skills that I have my eyes on right now.