The PR industry, much like the advertising industry, has been challenged no end over recent years. At first the rise of internet, computers and connectivity helped to streamline admin, create new and measurable mechanisms and provide communicators with a more coherent way of working. Think emails, building journo relationships, doubling the number of press outlets via online press.
But, with any change comes challenge. Whilst the day’s of faxing journalists may seem like ancient history, and thankfully something I don’t personally remember (I’m still young I promise), it was the start of the PR revolution, much as it was the start of the consumer revolution. The control of the brand became diluted as the consumer grew its share of voice. And so, now we are presented with a new market, a new landscape whereby brands are at the beck and call of the demanding consumer. The consumer that can and will scrutinise a brands moves – be it their CSR or principles.
And with that comes a need for change. A need to embrace the new and perhaps most importantly the need to integrate. Advertising agencies no longer stand in isolation, and with that neither should PR companies. Whilst the phrase integration has become a little over used, it is essential that we truly get under the skin of what it represents, and how that impacts on our role as communicators.
In short people consume their content in new and different ways. The press release and boozy lunches no longer define what it means to be a PR. In fact, as many of you already appreciate, that never truly represented what communications was all about. Yes it’s important to build and sustain relationships, but this shouldn’t be as a result of a fancy lunch and a lavish Christmas gift. It should be as a result of proven and effective communications that delivers results.
The industry changes at a fast pace, so it’s our responsibility as communicators to maintain a level head when it comes to change. When VR surfaced, who jumped on it and used it effectively? How did they make it work for them? And did you miss the boat? If so, why? This is just one example of how a new trend and technology can pass you by without cause if you fail to engage in it fast enough. It’s not about being a ‘me too’ brand, it’s about being a true innovator, and if you want to deliver comms with real impact, it’s your job as a communicator to embrace change, identify relevant opportunities for your clients, and more often than not take a step into the unknown.
If you’re forever playing catch up, you will forever work with brands that don’t truly appreciate the impact PR and communications can have on its brand. In short, this means you’re forever going to be seen as old hat and out of touch. So, don’t rest on your laurels, look at how you can innovate and really make an impact for your clients. Bespoke communications is about tailoring your skills to best suit your client’s audience – don’t be me too, be the communicator that helps to shape the change.
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