Head of Communications, China

2022, February 17
Head of Communications, China 17th February 2022

Role purpose

An exciting new opportunity to work for the UK’s international organisation for education and culture in China. To provide strategic direction and leadership on all internal and external communication, brand, reputation and external engagement.

Role context

Accountable for raising the profile and reputation of the organisation in Mainland China, you will help build strategic relationships and influence across a wide range of audiences, partners and the media.
You will lead a newly formed communication team, developing and mentoring team members, ensuring the highest levels of professionalism and quality. As a member of the China leadership team, you will provide cross-organisational leadership in communications, ensuring the brand is unified across all touchpoints.
The British Council has had a presence in China since 1943. Since 1979 we have been operating as the Culture and Education Section of the British Embassy and Consulate-Generals in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing. Our work in China is important to the global British Council operation, both politically and commercially. We operate a wide range of programmes in English, exams, arts, and education in partnership with local authorities and partners.

Main accountabilities
Strategy and Planning

  • Develops the China communications (external and internal) strategy and plan, manages implementation, ensures alignment to the regional and global communications strategy and plan, and monitors and evaluates impact.
  • Manages the development and delivery of country internal and external communications campaigns, advice and activities, ensuring that messages are consistent and support the Communications strategy as part of overall China country strategy.
  • Provides strategic oversight in communicating the British Council’s profile to internal and external stakeholders in China; works closely within the Global Marketing Team and wider network teams.
  • Leads and manages country media relations activities.
  • Leads and manages digital content on owned channels, including web and social media.
  • Ensures that communications in China maintain the reputation of the British Council.
  • Plans and coordinates China internal and change communications activities across China to improve effectiveness audience impact and eliminate duplication to ensure employees at every level have the right information to perform their roles.
  • Ensures that China internal, change, media and stakeholder communications risks and issues are effectively managed and mitigated.
  • Ensures that communications messages are consistent, coherent and aligned to country, regional and global communications strategy and support the British Council brand.
  • Strengthen brand management in China focusing on consistency, style and tone of communication, including at events and ensure British Council brand compliance of all communication materials

Consultancy, analysis and problem-solving

  • Applies communications expertise to provide advice to the country director and SBU leads and develops and delivers communications plans to support work programmes.
  • Applies analytical approaches to identify and assess the current state of country communications, defines opportunities for improvement, develops and implements agreed projects and initiatives, and ensures consistency with global communications strategies, plans, and approaches.
  • Develops appropriate communications initiatives and interventions to support country business needs, aligned to regional and global communications strategies, plans and approaches.
  • Distils complex concepts and analysis into compelling and persuasive messaging and presentations, which convincingly influence decision-makers about the case for country-focused communications strategy and approach.

Functional Expertise

  • Builds an in-depth understanding of the country operational context, opportunities and challenges for communications.
  • Makes appropriate linkages to issues across the broader organisation to ensure that country communications projects and initiatives develop based on informed business insight and joined-up thinking.
  • Consults closely with internal customers and other stakeholders to understand current and future business needs for communications.

Business Development

  • Ensures joined-up planning and delivery of communications projects and initiatives across China and, where appropriate, other countries in the region.
  • Owns and manages the China intranet and oversees the creation and sharing of China stories in China, in the region and more widely.
  • Ensures consistent application of agreed global communications and brand standards, templates and processes.
  • Reviews impact and effectiveness of country communications projects and initiatives and identifies opportunities for improvement.

Subject/Sector Expertise

  • Provides expert advice, support and challenge on communications to internal customers and other stakeholders.
  • Supports Senior Leadership team with communications advice and expertise.
  • Develops high quality and effective country communications plans and solutions using established processes, tools and systems to ensure consistency.
  • Proactively pursues an annual cycle of formally recognised Continuing Professional Development to maintain and deepen their professional expertise.

Commercial and financial management

  • Using agreed corporate systems and processes plans and manages the budget for China communications projects and initiatives.
  • Conducts monthly and year-end reporting on progress against plan and deliverables, budget, and management of issues and risks.

Relationship and stakeholder management

  • Ensures solid and beneficial relationships with marketing and communications professionals globally and within the region.
  • Actively participates within the Marketing Community of Practice.
  • Develops peer/personal networks within and outside Marketing to enhance own knowledge and expertise.
  • Proactively builds and maintains excellent relationships with stakeholders.

Leadership and management

  • Builds and leads the China communications team.
  • Plans and prioritises own work activities to ensure effective delivery of diverse responsibilities and deliverables over a quarterly to annual time horizon.
  • Determines work plans and coordinates input from others (outside the direct management line) to meet specific objectives.
  • Plays an active role as a senior member of the Asia Pacific Communications team.


Person specification

  • Relevant degree, e.g. communications, journalism, marketing, or equivalent level of experience
  • Significant experience in managing communications within a large and complex organisation
  • Experience and understanding of working in China.
  • Demonstrable experience in developing and implementing creative communication campaigns in a country of regional setting
  • Demonstrable experience in managing and mitigating internal and external communications risks and issues
  • Experience in working with key national/international/sector media
  • Experience in managing crisis communications
  • Proven ability to mentor and develop colleagues
  • Experience in working with government stakeholders
  • English language speaker / English C2 (Aptis, IELTS 9 or equivalent).


  • Fluency in or working knowledge of Mandarin
  • Experience in a global organisation
  • Experience and understanding of working with UK government stakeholders in Whitehall/Westminster
  • Knowledge of education and/or culture and arts in China and/or the UK


For the full job description and to apply, please visit this link.

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