One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is: ‘Do we still need PR - or is it now all about digital and social?’ The media landscape has changed so dramatically in the last 5 years and is still moving. So much so, that no one really knows where it’s all going to end up and many are confused.
It’s incredibly exciting, but we do need to keep up with it. Sounds simple, but where do you start?
Whether you are a start-up or a large global brand about to launch into a new market, how on earth are you meant to get to grips with each media landscape and the ever-blurring lines between digital, print and social media? The best we can do is look at the brand’s needs and objectives and then devise a bespoke communications strategy around it, usually involving a compatible mix of platforms. Having recently worked with a number of very different brands with this very dilemma, it was fascinating to put together bespoke strategies – each using a mix of different media in varying priorities. The trick is to keep assessing, monitoring and listening. Keep an eye on your analytics – and your results!
The world is going media crazy. PR Agencies are struggling to keep up. Some aren’t keeping up. Traditional methods and relationships are still vital, but unless you broaden your outlook it’s not going to work.
Kelly Marks, Founder Pure PR comments; ‘We are experiencing an exciting and changing landscape for PR right now. At Pure we are more deeply involved in strategy and marketing planning for many of our brands. The digital space is just as important as more traditional print. The fundamental route for success is joined up thinking that brings together all the elements of a brand's business supported by PR and social media as the most fundamental element of story-telling.’
Don’t lose that personal touch. Jane Cunningham, British Beauty Blogger; ‘The bottom line is that brands have tried to make marketing more relevant over PR which is really a shame. The beauty of 'old-style' PR was a relationship that was meaningful in some way - brands have underestimated the importance of those - I will never do a 'favour' for Team X but I might very well for someone I know well. Being faceless at the front end of the brand makes it feel very irrelevant - when you're fighting for every single sale, as a lot of beauty brands are in this crowded market, eventually that facelessness will chip away into customer loyalty.’
The word on the street is that print is dying. Yes, it’s certainly in decline, but it still plays a role and there remains ‘an audience’ who thrill at a new copy of Vogue or Sunday Times Style and turn the pages with anticipation of what India Knight is going to write about. Instagram stories now receive more traffic than main feed. From here, it’s so easy to see something you like, swipe up and immediately click through to buy.
Nicola de Burlet, The PR Studio; ‘This modern-day industrial revolution has meant that as PRs we have had to adapt our offering or face the consequences. The classic product on page scenario is rare these days due to there being less pages on which one can be featured. As people consume media in differing ways now, with less time in which to consume it and no appetite for long in-depth pieces preferring visually led content instead, as PRs, we need to come up with more creative ways of catching the all-important eye of the consumer.
Gone are the days of well attended launch events with 30 minute presentations by the brand. Such events are replaced by digital releases, bite size content and event spaces that are purely there to fuel the Instagram grid for journalists who are writing across several titles and trying to nourish several digital feeds at the same time. Some argue that the old fashioned cultivated relationships are no longer relevant, but I argue the opposite, those relationships are still as precious as ever but we have the luxury of a network that knows no bounds with thousands of mini magazines available to us as PRs should we choose to work with them if the reach is right. Exciting times, but to be approached with caution, and one that PR and brand need to go into together, with honesty, well prepared and eyes wide open to ensure that expectations from all sides are managed correctly.’
We can still find that magic but we need to be open minded and flexible. Jazz Kaur Sohal, Brand Communications Consultant; ‘It goes without say that Social Media has completely turned traditional PR on its head, however I strongly believe that the magic happens when tradition & technology work hand-in-hand. Tradition in all areas of life requires some movement over time when new resources are available to us but I think I'm right in saying technology alone lacks the, oh so important, human touch. So if you can find a PR expert that can combine the two seamlessly, you are sure to see success in your campaigns and activations.’
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