RSPCA in wide-ranging agency and strategy review

The RSPCA is streamlining the dozens of marketing agencies it works with into five lead agencies and a roster of preferred suppliers, as it maps out a plan for the next ten years.

RSPCA deputy CEO John Grounds: 'We want to create more compassion in society in general'
RSPCA deputy CEO John Grounds: 'We want to create more compassion in society in general'

The charity is holding pitches this week for the strategy brief, which is one of the five lead agency categories and will be decided before the end of this month.

PR does not feature in the lead agency categories, which include strategy, creative, digital, media planning and fundraising.

However, the agencies pitching for the strategy account are understood to come from a range of marcoms disciplines. In addition, the RSPCA indicated that PR agencies would be considered for the digital business, which will be pitched out in January.

"It doesn't matter which discipline an agency comes from, it's about whether they are good," said deputy CEO John Grounds.

PR agencies may also be included on the roster of preferred suppliers, which will be compiled after the lead agencies are appointed. The creative account is set to be pitched in December, but the media planning and fundraising accounts will remain with MediaCom and Open Fundraising respectively.

The charity is not currently working with any PR agencies; the last one it employed was Kudo PR last December.

It plans to communicate regularly with the future roster of preferred suppliers in order to avoid a lengthy 'on-boarding' process when they are needed to work on a short-term project.

Grounds, who was promoted from director of marketing and communications in July, told PRWeek that the charity's strategy review was linked to the approach of its 200th anniversary in 2023.

"We’re the biggest and oldest animal welfare charity in the UK. We asked ourselves what we wanted to have achieved by our 200th anniversary. A cruel society doesn’t differentiate between people and animals. We want to create more compassion in society in general," he said.

The charity is keen to improve public understanding of its wide gamut of work outside of animal welfare inspectors and cats and dogs rehoming.

This includes its work on animal testing, farm animal welfare standards, the transport of wild animals and its training work with other organisations overseas including work in China, South Korea, Balkan States and Turkey.

The newly created position of deputy to CEO Gavin Grant made Grounds responsible for all the charity's outward-facing activities, including education, science, international, public affairs, campaigns, fundraising and marcoms.

He said the ten-year strategy means it will focus on four key areas: 

1) Education (both of consumers about their buying choices and compassion to animals in the formal education system)

2) Law (ensure there is a law that governs companies, individuals and animals that is understood, enforced and carries the correct punishment)

3) Partnerships (with other animal welfare organisations)

4) Direct interventions (that are efficient, effective and focused on animals most in need).

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