When I first started my career in PR, it was a very different industry to the one that now exists. These days, a PR agency wears many hats and operates within everything from traditional PR to event management and styling, being a celebrity and influencer specialist, advertising creative, financial controller and digital media expert. But that is the nature of the industry, to continue to evolve just as businesses and the media landscape in general are continuing to evolve.
I believe PR delivers brands more resonance, reputation and integrity with their customers than any other marketing channel because it is a third-party endorsement. There is no control over what will be published by the media in regards to a brand or story so therefore it is important to ensure that what you’re selling is well enunciated and planned. However, there is no point in investing in PR if there isn’t a strategy around how and when to implement it, to get the mileage it can deliver.
Credit: Dominic Loneragan
In the era of ‘fake news’, Donald Trump, #metoo and brands being held more accountable than ever, it is clear that PR has never been more needed. With so much noise in the marketplace and vast amounts of content readily available, brands risk their reputation being misrepresented, damaged by public opinion or being endorsed by someone ‘off brand’. People are realising a need to employ a PR expert to manage and mitigate how their brand is put to market, how it is received and what happens when things don’t go to plan.
For example, every time you turn on the news, for nearly every story that is being reported, a PR person somewhere is being briefed, creating a reactive plan and managing stakeholders from every facet of a business. The key messages that are being delivered via spokespeople, press releases, brand campaigns and content plans have been carefully curated to deliver a very strategic objective. This is why without PR, brands can lose opportunities and momentum at critical times and can allow public opinion to determine their worth. Without a deliberate plan in place, key messages and campaign purpose can fall on deaf ears and in some cases undo an entire history of a brand’s reputation and standing within an industry.
It’s not all crisis, issues and reputation management though. Sometimes, when PR teams aren’t putting out fires and managing reactive press, they get to create strategy, write a campaign plan, be on the front foot with media and build relationships that are based on their skill to persuade and compel. With new technology, innovation and creativity moulding and changing the industry at a frenetic rate, PR professionals have had to remain nimble and be at the forefront of what’s shaping the industry to ensure the campaigns they’re creating are delivering effective and measurable results.
Also evolving and creating change after 20 years in business, Hardie Grant Media has grown and diversified to now include PR as part of our service offering, in the form of tide.pr. This is an obvious extension to Hardie Grant’s heritage in storytelling and content creation and benefits both existing and new clients. The two organisations complement each other really well, with shared cultural and professional values and a desire to create innovative campaigns that sell a brand’s story.
Having a PR function within the HGM businesses gives us the opportunity to create a seamless integrated content framework and allows us to deliver the final link in our clients’ content strategies, with PR delivering influence to their audiences. Because that is what PR is – influence. And no matter how much the industry changes, the sole purpose of PR never will.
Madeleine Wilson, Director, tide.pr