The Truth about PR

By Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth

The Truth About PRMuch to the chagrin of traditional PR firms, the practice of public relations is changing faster than most firms can keep pace with. If the image to the left even remotely resembles how you feel when you interact with your PR firm, then it’s time to rethink things…Traditional firms who define their practice by writing press releases and conducting media pitches are seeing clients jump ship faster than politicians can sling mud. PR firms that “get it” have surpassed advertising agencies moving into the forefront of brand building, digital marketing, social media marketing, reputation management, and influence peddling. In this week’s column I share my thoughts on the changing landscape of public relations…

In today’s ultra competitive global economy, the battle to win the hearts and minds of very broad and diverse constituencies has never been more critical or challenging. Savvy corporate clients are no longer settling for old school PR, and have mandated that both the strategy and tactics of PR evolve to meet the fluidity of market demands. Public relations is no longer about agency interns and thirty-something staffers pitching a story idea, or attempting to book a speaking engagement. Rather PR done right has everything to do with a new generation of influence agents who leverage relationships to open doors and markets, create buzz across mediums and geographies, who carefully protect and manage reputations, and who build dominant personal and corporate brands.  

A good PR initiative in today’s world transcends media relations…It enables the achievement of client business objectives through whatever ethical means are required to get the job done while increasing brand equity in the process. If your PR firm cannot break through political barriers via lobbying efforts, help facilitate joint ventures and strategic partnerships, manage personal or corporate reputations online, and build a dominant brand then you have the wrong agency on retainer.

I’m always amazed at the substantial budgets companies expend with PR firms who not only fail to deliver, but who actually tarnish their client’s brand. The market is fraught with recent examples of sophomoric efforts on the part of name brand PR firms who have flubbed blogging and social media initiatives, mismanaged publicity stunts, crossed ethical boundaries, and otherwise have placed their clients in untenable situations. The bottom line is that when it comes to protecting and advancing your brand through the creation and execution of sound business opportunities, don’t just buy into a pitch from an old-line agency that has not proven that they have transitioned their practice to the realities of the current business climate. 

In the final analysis when it comes to selecting a PR firm don’t buy a pitch, be sold on a brand, or even the brands that an agency has represented in the past. Rather look at the recent growth of the agency while considering who you want as a strategic business partner, who understands your business objectives, and who can deliver the results…

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