Over the years, the definition of PR has been debated and re-written, and PR practitioners have been subjected to a number of stereotypes. Whereas in reality, PR is a lot more than what people think. Cue annoying “oh like Olivia Pope?” questions.
In my opinion, we’re the “Authors of Credibility” for our clients and their brands.
The point of PR is to drive the reputation capital of an organisation- which is now as important as human capital, intellectual capital and assets. As much as PR is not a sales tool, today’s consumers place great importance on reputation as they do on product and price.
Our key proof point as communication consultants is that editorial is more credible, as the coverage is earned, not paid for. And in the environment we currently find ourselves, where media are scrambling for advertising budgets and becoming very stringent on the stories they cover – not wanting to give any brand a mention for mahala – a credible story is the one that gets through the regulatory hoops and makes it to the publisher’s desk without payment.
There are moments in time, such as a product launch or event, where PR leads with the breaking news, however the bulk of what we do lies in the consistent, long-term approach of telling stories and profiling our clients in the media.
Advertising can’t tell a story in the way editorial can, and over time, it is this earned credibility that drives consumers to choose one brand over another. In addition it prepares a brand to be ready to deal with a crisis and to come out with their reputation in tact, and that ultimately converts consumers (and other stakeholders) to truly believe in a brand or organisation and what they stand for.
Finally, it must be said that true credibility comes when business operations and communications are aligned. Increasingly, we are seeing a move in the industry where communication consultants are at the table with decision makers, advising them on best business practice. A very different role to the party planners we were once referred to as.
Written by: Tennille Taylor, Senior Account Manager, Brand Marketing