Written by, Erin Sing // Co-Founder & Director, Modern Currency.
Public Relations can be a misunderstood mechanic of the marketing mix, or better yet, left out in the cold and not considered a true marketing practice at all; PR is often an afterthought once a campaign is live. I’m sure other PR professionals can relate to the phone calls that say “Oh, by the way, we’re going live with X campaign today. Can you see if we can get into The Age tomorrow?”
While it’s an easy thing to say and to assume, the last minute approach doesn’t do your media strategy any favours. It actually works against you to leave this part of the mix in the dark. PR should be, and works best, when it is a primary part of your marketing mix.
It’s a word many old school marketing executives will scoff at. But integrating your marketing strategy in with PR, the same way you do with creative, media buying and social is crucial. While PR can sometimes seem effortless, it’s not. There is a lot of brainpower that goes into cleverly crafting a communications strategy as part of a larger campaign.
Our strategies look at campaigns as a whole, what channels are being used, a varietal of key messages, the audience targets, timing, potential issues / barriers, and from there we develop the messages, media targets and avenues to get you results.
It’s not a quick fix and isn’t something that can be whipped up in a day. Sure, we’re used to pulling rabbits out of hats and working to tight deadlines, but our best work will always be done when we’ve been included in initial conversations and have a seat at the table.
One of the biggest differences between PR and Marketing is credibility, and that’s not to say that marketing is uncredible or less important than PR, because it isn’t – it’s highly important and highly influential. But marketing is a brand telling a consumer how great they are, how good a product is or how much better value their service is to their competitors. Sure, there are a mix of avenues you can do this via now with digital being an amazing tool for garnering tangible results and immediate action from your consumers. But at the end of the day, it is still you, telling your own consumers your key messages and prompting them to buy.
Where as PR works by utilising an external source that has built up credibility and an audience who believes in what it says, to talk about your brand or product.
It’s this degree of separation that makes PR powerful – it’s similar to word of mouth marketing. If a friend of yours, someone you love and trust, tells you about a brand, you’re more likely to look it up because you trust your friend’s judgement, right? It’s the same with PR, you trust the media source you’re engaging with and therefore hold value in what they’re saying.
Mitigation of risk.
A good PR pro thinks of just about everything; from great messaging and media targets through to risks and issues that can arise. If I had a dollar for everytime I said … “Now, there is a slim chance that this, this and this might happen, and if it does, then we should do blah, blah, blah”, I’d be retired by now! But this isn’t because I’m a ‘debbie downer’ or a pessimist by any means, but rather like to be prepared for any scenario in any situation. It’s better to be prepared than caught off guard.
By including PR at the beginning of your campaign planning, we’re visible to every single aspect of the campaign – the entire workings of the campaign! – which means we’re in a much better position to prepare for anything that may happen.
Our job, as I see it, is to act as your brand reputation guardian. We need to be your eyes and ears to ensure that we’re guiding you in the best way possible.
New Gen Media
It’s no secret the media landscape has changed drastically. What was considered best practice 10 years ago, isn’t best practice these days and this can be put down to the rise in technology and also the way media outlets are using social media to reach their audience.
Because of this, the reach and influence of PR has drastically changed. No longer is it just about newspapers and TV, for example popular news outlets are now creating their own content with the sole purpose of publishing it on their social media channels. This means PR practitioners have the opportunity to push the fold and create new opportunities for brands that will immediately target individuals.
True integration is important when you look at your marketing strategy; silos need to be abolished and every tactic and team needs to be working together to deliver results that span further than just one metric. Personally, I think it’s an exciting time for people in industry as the lines are being blurred and there are now more opportunities than ever to be creative and think differently. We’re already seeing agencies, like ours (humble, brag), demonstrating a truly integrated mindset and implementing multiple disciplinary campaigns. We find this approach delivers better results for our clients and creates ease for them.
Do you have any thoughts on this topic? We’d love to hear them! Get in touch with us.