Case study: Shared services in the public sector

Posted on: 2012-05-29 in Examples   |   Tagged: b2b pr b2b pr case study midlandhr omnibus surveys

A great example of the use of research in B2B PR via @MidlandHR and @PortfolioComms.

Recent independent research for Portfolio Communications client, MidlandHR, into HR and payroll shared services in the public sector, provides a perfect example of the value of a well planned and fully integrated research campaign.

A leading supplier of talent management, workforce planning, HR and payroll solutions, MidlandHR commissioned the research to explore the opinions of over 100 UK public sector representatives, from functions spanning HR, payroll, finance, purchasing and IT.

100 pieces of media coverage

Launched in October 2011, the research findings quickly met one of the campaign’s primary objectives: to get the HR and payroll community talking about shared services, especially when it made the news pages of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD)’s website.

The findings generated stories around, for example:

  • Public sector organisations are overestimating the challenges associated with implementing shared services.
  • Technology is a key factor in the adoption of shared services among public sector organisations

News releases announcing the findings generated around 100 pieces of coverage over a three-month period (49% in tier one publications), leading to further requests for the report.

With nearly 200 requests for a full copy of the findings, this initial interest confirmed a lack of authoritative information on the subject. This led MidlandHR to publish a more detailed guide providing an informative introduction on shared services in the public sector.

The guide provided MidlandHR with the opportunity not only to re-visit the research but also draw on the company’s direct customer experience, consultation with experts in the field and general market research. Providing a comprehensive overview of the various shared service models, it covered everything from who can benefit, to partner relationships and presenting the business case.


This offered the chance to raise more complex issues such as the challenges, cost savings and timeframes involved, and gave MidlandHR the authority it required to prove its credentials in a confusing market. It also provided an opportunity to highlight some real-life case studies taken from the company’s own customer base.

From a PR perspective, the research and the guide have:

  • Provided valuable material for press releases and press interviews
  • Been key to driving traffic to the company website
  • Proved to be a popular subject for the corporate blog
  • And a real discussion point on Twitter.

To date, the company has had nearly 150 requests for the guide. This is expected to rise as more in-depth articles on the subject, by-lined to MidlandHR’s shared services specialist, Karen Bull, appear in leading HR and business press and online news sites. As Karen herself reports, the research has been the “perfect all-round communication tool” and provided “an excellent opportunity to clear up any myths about shared services”.

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The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog was founded by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, who runs video production and corporate animation agency TopLine Film and digital PR and SEO agency  TopLine Comms. The B2B PR Blog takes contributions from sensible industry folk with something interesting to say.


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