In-house communication versus hiring an external PR consultancy is an ongoing debate as the social media and communication landscape continues to rapidly evolve. Companies are realising that PR as a function can no longer depend on antiquated tactics using only traditional media as professionals need to have intimate knowledge of the functioning and ethos of the brand.
As the digital field continues to grow, PR needs to embrace this space, allowing for cross-functional collaboration in which PR works across a number of communication platforms, communicating multiple messages while keeping to the core brand ethos. Taking the department in-house allows for greater control, transparency and quicker turn around times.
“The decision was based on the rate of change in the PR and communication space. In order for us to remain abreast with the required internal change, we need to take some control of the process. The internal PR, communication and social media team give us just that,” explains Plascon’s marketing director, Gerard Metzer. “I am delighted that to date, the impact has been fantastic.”
The Plascon PR account was previously outsourced to Meropa Communications in Johannesburg. Plascon has appointed a dynamic and multi-talented communications team who will be based in Cape Town and bring with them experience from a range of industries.
Lauren Shantall (PR, communication and social media manager) is the founder and organiser of Trend Talk: Future Forward. She sits on the advisory committee for the proposed Museum of Design, Innovation, Leadership and Art (MODILA). She previous held the position as the Head of the Freeworld Design Centre. She is one of the directors of the design-led charity Rock Girl SA.
Maciek Dubla (PR and media manager) is an honours graduate from UCT in media, theory and practice. Having discovered public relations, media management and communication halfway through university while working for Judy Bryant Communications, he went on to become the media and marketing manager for Design Indaba
. Maciek’s background is primarily in media production and journalism and he finds inspiration in the dynamism and adaptability of the media industry.
Nicole Sochen (Senior communication strategist) is the managing director of aldente pr, a small consultancy specialising in strategic communications, PR and media relations. Previously having worked for Atmosphere, she has more than eight years PR experience spanning corporate and brand communication. Her primary role within the Plascon PR team is the conceptualisation and planning of an innovative and integrated communications strategy, which aims to uphold Plascon's market position as South Africa’s leading coatings manufacturer.
Galen Schultz (SEO manager and blog contributor) is a webmaster, blogger and SEO specialist. He has a university degree in new media and has worked as a journalist, technology columnist, design sub-editor and video producer for the Natal Witness
newspaper in Pietermaritzburg. He manages his own blog, www.witnessthis.co.za
that explores technology, PC gaming and the web and is ranked as one of the top 20 blogs in South Africa.
Catherine Bowen (Blog manager and event co-ordinator) founded Dress Sense (www.dress-sense.co.za
); her background in psychology and experience in the fashion world make her one of Cape Town’s foremost personal stylists. She has held positions as the marketing and sales manager for KLûK CGDT, business manager for Tretchikoff Renaissance and has been mentored by the doyenne of the South African fashion industry, Robyn Cooke. She has styled the likes of Caprice, Jo-Ann Strauss, Jeannie Dee, Ryk Neethling, Lieschen Botes, Nicky Greenwall, Tamara Dey, Michelle McLean and Dr Precious Moloi Motsepe.
“It is extremely stimulating for me to be working with a team of talented and capable individuals who have already proven themselves in their respective fields,” says Shantall.
The new team will be responsible for activating the Plascon brand along with all its sub-brands across social media platforms and the new Plascon Trends blog (www.plascontrends.co.za
). They will also serve as media liaisons and the communication channel between Plascon and the public at large.
Plascon will be launching its newly revamped website (www.plascon.co.za
) in the upcoming month. The website will be the anchor for the Plascon brand and the gateway into the comprehensive stable of Plascon’s activities, products, developments and innovations.