MOSCOW — A study of the Russian PR industry has revealed a bounce in spend by in-house communicators, with 13% saying they had a budget of more than $110,000 this year – the highest bracket in the survey – compared with just 3% in 2018.

Now in its fifth year, the annual survey was conducted by Buman Media in partnership with online recruitment company HeadHunter. They polled 100 in-house PR and marketing directors across sectors including retail, IT, finance and FMCG to find out the challenges and issues for Russian communicators.

The sectors with the biggest budgets for 2019 were IT, retail and telecoms. Budgets ranging from $32,000 to $110,000 were held by 20% of the respondents, while 26% have an annual budget of up to $32,000. But more than a fifth of Russian PR and marketing directors (21%) said their company had no allocated budget for PR.

According to the respondents, the most common challenge now for PR directors in Russia is creating accessible and engaging content (18%). Content creation is also taking the biggest slice of budgets, with 20% of spend going towards elements including design and video.

Conversely, while implementation of modern PR and marketing technologies is seen as the second-biggest challenge (13%) and one of the most important skills (14%), only 4% of respondents have allocated budgets for martech. This is despite 67% of practitioners now using martech in their daily work, including for automated emails, staff performance, collaboration, monitoring and project management.

The most important communications skills also included crisis communications (15%), data search and analytics (13%), newsjacking (12%) and working with bloggers (12%). Other challenges included selecting effective tools for the target audience (12%) and measuring the effectiveness of PR (12%).

Buman Media CEO Natalia Bucelnikova said the Russian communications industry was undergoing fundamental changes: “PR specialists are investing in opportunities to increase their work efficiency, to solve business tasks and ensure PR makes a meaningful contribution to the development and success of the company.

"Specialists are on a constant search for innovative tools and channels, improving their skills in crisis communications and related areas, giving their best with fairly modest PR budgets.”