What Is Public Relations in 2010?
By: Andrea Trapani
The public relations industry has been doing a lot of navel gazing and soul searching of late, trying to determine and to profess where the industry stands in the modern era. The contraction of traditional media has driven some to go so far as to proclaim that PR is dead, or at least to ask the question.
We, of course, think quite the contrary.
Fully Integrated Public Relations
There is a difference between devolving and evolving, naturally. Our agency is among those who take great pride and great enthusiasm in the emergence of a newly defined discipline. At Identity, we believe in fully integrated public relations. This phenomenon is borne from the realization that media is changing, consumers are changing with it, and that public relations needs to be redefined.
When I started in this business, public relations could be loosely but easily defined as “getting your clients in the newspaper.” Today, it is much, much more than that. While media relations remains a key component to a broader communications strategy, the term “media relations” cannot wholly define what public relations is.
To redefine the industry, we start simple: Public relations is relating to the public — and to your specific publics. Of course, it has always meant just that. But with the emergence of new media and the changing of old guard media, the need to define it in broader terms has become that much more prominent.
We relate to our publics in virtually every exposure our brand has. It is press, to be sure, but it is also our social media exposures, our branding, our sales and marketing collateral, our Web communications, direct communications (electronic or print), public appearances, advertising and more. We have long held that these potentially disparate marcom strategies need to be cohesive, consistent, correlative, complementary and continuous. In short, they need to be fully integrated.
The brands that will excel in this new-media paradigm with be those who maximize them all, and keep them well in-tune with one another. Those that focus on one at the expense of the others will be in for a disappointment. And those that put each of these tactical strategies into separate silos will find them competing and, potentially, doing more damage than good to the overall brand identity.