“Public relations has always played its part in the marketing mix, even if it was added to plans late and rarely recognized like other disciplines. But the emergence of skippable, blockable, opt-out-able advertising, not to mention ever-more integrated campaigns, means PR can suddenly demand more than a supporting role—and maybe even take center stage.”
Tired of defending public relations? The above quote in a January Advertising Age article by Lindsay Stein is more proof that other professionals are finally recognizing PR’s place in the world of communication. That’s real progress. For too long and too often our profession has been disparaged by marketers, journalists and the public who see PR as spin–the purposeful altering of truth to achieve a desired outcome.
Stein’s article quoted Harris Diamond, CEO of McCann Worldwide, one of the world’s largest PR firms. “Clients increasingly understand that marketing is multichannel, and that the digital and experiential spaces lend themselves to magnification by PR,” he said. “More and more CMOs (chief marketing officers) are recognizing the power and importance of PR, and I’m seeing more practitioners in the field being involved in integrated campaigns, and that’s dramatically accelerated PR’s pace.”
Another example was noted by Stein: “‘At Chobani, where PR has always been a weapon to battle bigger-spending rivals, the discipline is becoming increasingly vital,’ according to Peter McGuinness, CMO for the Greek yogurt brand. The growing importance of PR is…a ‘macro-category trend’ because of highly curious consumers and the increasing need to reach them with brand information. Edelman, the largest independent PR agency, is ‘getting not just a seat at the table, we’re getting half the table,’ said Jackie Cooper, global chair-creative strategy at the firm.”
It’s not only because advertising will be “skippable and blockable” that makes PR more vital. A 2014 study from Nielsen found that PR is almost 90% more effective than advertising. “With advertising, you tell people how great you are,” wrote Robert Wynne in Forbes. “With publicity, others sing your praises. Which do you think is more effective?”
Public relations students and professionals know the answer to that question. Your thoughts?