SAN FRANCISCO — Skype is reworking its communications department under the leadership of Eric Brown, who arrived after the departure of previous comms head Brian O’Shaughnessy to launch a communications consultancy.
The Microsoft-owned VoIP company is reorganizing comms to now include content development and internal engagement. Brown, who was hired as GM of integrated communications in January, told the Holmes Report he plans to build Skype’s storytelling capabilities to reflect the structure he helped build at Yahoo, where he was senior VP of global communications from 2009 to 2012.
Brown says there are no immediate plans to conduct an agency search, except in markets that currently do not have support. Skype works with Kaplow in the US, Grayling and Text 100 in Europe, and Bite Communications in Asia-Pacific. The company also hired Edelman for a global entertainment-based project last year. Since being acquired by Microsoft in 2011, Waggener Edstrom has supported Skype in its corporate storytelling, Microsoft integration and social good.
Skype is currently hiring for five positions, including an editorial director to helm its storytelling arm. The company is also planning to bring aboard several mid-level consumer and internal comms pros, as well as those with experience of combining various aspects of an integrated campaign, including paid, earned and owned media dimensions.
Drawing upon his experience at Yahoo, Brown also plans to make broadcast media a more targeted focus for the company, packaging data on calling trends, such as whether an important event leads to an uptick in calls to a particular region.
The changes come as Microsoft is folding Lync, its enterprise communication service, into Skype. Lync has already been brought into the Skype product group, helping to leverage Skype’s brand equity to the enterprise. Brown says Skype’s core audiences will be enterprise and business users; consumers; advertisers and tech influencers.
Brown reports into Skype CMO Elisa Steele and maintains a "dotted line" relationship to Frank Shaw, corporate VP of Microsoft's communications.