The LSE public relations and communications research programme is investigating how best to keep professional development teams on the right track in the digital age.
The research, led by Professor Sarah Kavanagh, will look at the ways that the internet has changed the way organisations communicate, manage their work and work on behalf of their clients.
“There’s so much of this digitalisation of communication that has been happening and it’s affecting all aspects of our work,” she said.
Ms Kavanah said that a key area of work for public relations is the design of social media and how they work together.
There are now over two million social media accounts on the web, which can be used for many purposes, including advertising and news content.
According to the study, most of these social media profiles are created by individuals or organisations.
“In terms of the role of people and organisations in creating these profiles, we found that they have a huge influence over the way they interact with clients and their organisations,” Ms Kavanaugh said.
“For example, some of the most popular accounts are used to promote the work of the organisation’s staff.”
While this can be a valuable tool for clients and organisations, Ms Kavannah said that the more we learn about the behaviour of professional development departments, the more effective they will be at working with clients.
She said that when working in the field of public relations these days, it’s important to understand the professional development process and the role that the organisation plays in it.
“We’ve become so much more connected in this age of digitalisation and so much digitalisation affects every aspect of our lives,” she told the conference.
In addition to looking at how organisations are managing their professional development, Ms Javanagh said that there is an urgent need for better communications training for professionals in public relations.
She said the training needs to be tailored to the professional’s role.
“If you’re a social media professional, and you’re talking about social media, you’re going to have a lot of responsibilities on that,” she explained.
“So there’s a lot to learn, particularly as a professional in this new age.”
“It’s all about the business, and there’s no more time for it.”