Death to PR

“Rise and rise until PR becomes reputation management”

Earlier last week I had the privilege of attending the IMC 2012 Conference.  And I say privileged as there were certainly some clever people sitting in the room.  The content ranged from the latest trends to successful campaigns with a focus on digital and social media.

Many of the keynote addresses included case studies of successful digital (or what they termed integrated) campaigns and one of the first measures of success mentioned was PR.  Now it is really great that they see PR as a measure of success, however, PR is not a measurement.  Publicity is a result of an effective communication programme.

So I ask myself. Is there a clear understanding of the role of PR and at this point want to say that it is time to lose the term PR.  Our role as communicators should be clearly understood by the various disciplines that sit around the brand table.  The lines of roles and responsibilities are fast blurring and so now more than ever we need to walk our talk.  Nothing has changed in what we do, but how we do it has.

Too many times I have been asked, ‘How much PR can we get?” or “Can you add some PR to this campaign?”  A publicity plan lumped onto the back of a digital or ABTL campaign (for a limited budget) will generate a moment in the conversation – but what you should be asking for is how do I sustain the conversation, which in time should shift the perception and attain what you are setting out to achieve.

With the amount of conversation generated, multiplied by consumers driving content and with the explosion of social media platforms, our role as communication specialists is now more critical than ever to clients and brands.  Our ability to be the catalyst connecting ART and SCIENCE of communication is invaluable to brand campaigns as it allows us to craft exciting and relevant content, distributed through relevant networks, while employing sound analytics and research to measure impact.

PR as defined by CIPRAPublic relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. So the next time you want to ask ‘how much PR can you generate’ rather ask ‘how much should I be investing in the brand’s reputation’.

Invite us to sit in your boardroom or creative session meetings and allow us to walk the journey with you from the beginning. The value will certainly translate into success.

And, by the way, I think we should dump the word Digital ..……………..