The PR and communications industry’s sole focus is on building the reputation of its clients, but is the sector doing enough to promote itself?
With the lines between marketing, PR and advertising becoming increasingly blurred, the general public and business community has become progressively uncertain about the parameters and functions of each. While the effects of marketing and advertising are usually easy to see, PR is still regarded as a dark art.
Time for a makeover?
The true value of PR always returns to money. It is singularly the easiest way to measure the impact of a campaign, track its success and encourage uptake.
With the staggering array of tools available to assess digital campaign, PR is no longer about generating the greatest amount of coverage. Now PR professionals must encourage conversations about products and brands, increase sales and raise awareness, and we all have to ability to do so.
Yet the way in which the industry has publicised the value of PR has barely changed in the past 20 years. Many clients still want to measure success in Advertising Value Equivalency (AVE) – the dirtiest word in PR today. It is up to us to educate them.
I feel that industry bodies like CIPR and AMEC, as well as individual agencies, should be doing more to publicise how PR is developing before it is fully amalgamated into marketing and advertising.
For too long we have lived in the shadows, promoting our clients and their industries and now we must think about raising the profile of our own through a coordinated awareness campaign.
PR is an essential service in growing businesses, selling products and crafting careers. Let’s show people how we can help them, how we are reacting to the rise in digital and social media, and why they should come to PR specialists rather than the increasingly prevalent all-encompassing agencies that offer marketing, advertising and PR under one roof.
As part of this, we must look to progress the Barcelona Principles so that we can measure print media as easily and openly as digital.
If we don’t show our worth and demonstrate that we are a valuable and progressive industry, I fear that we may well be overtaken.
Do you feel that more could be done to show the value of PR or am I just over-reacting? I would love to hear your views and welcome your feedback.