One of the highlights of my participation in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC)’s annual conference in Montreal this week was seeing Michael Krempasky of Edelman Public Relations. Krempasky presented “Digital Public Affairs: From the campaign trail and corporate communications” to 100 PR and communications educators.
Krempasky, general manager of Edelman’s Digital Public Affairs team and adjunct professor at Georgetown, talked about the changes in corporate communications over the last couple of decades. He noted what was known as “brand advocacy,” when companies focused on creating awareness to sell products and services, has evolved into “public advocacy,” where firms look to build trust, relationships, collaboration, and action. He said that corporate communications is less about the competition and more about meeting stakeholders’ expectations. Traditional advertising and marketing approaches have morphed into business relations, government relations, philanthropy, and public relations.
An active Republican, Krempasky pointed to how the Obama campaigns wisely viewed social media and traditional media as one in the same, never treating them as separate plans but instead completely integrating the two. He discussed the importance of hiring people with diverse skills, and letting them problem-solve without edicts from detached higher-ups. He said, “math wins,” suggesting that PR practitioners always pay close attention to measurable approaches and results. He also suggested we “build things,” meaning we shouldn’t accept only what’s available to us, but rather create new infrastructures and platforms to help reach our goals.
Krempasky concluded by talking about the three basic components that make a successful campaign: time, talent and treasure. He asked us which of the three were most important; most said, “talent.” Some thought “treasure” or big budgets were the key to successful campaigns. But Krempasky said that it’s “time”which matters more, especially when there’s a final date attached to a campaign (i.e., Election Day). He suggested that above all other things, we use our time wisely and strategically when conducting our public relations campaigns. He’s right–it’s not just about meeting deadlines; it’s about using every PR tool you have efficiently and effectively. Your thoughts?