By Olajumoke Verissimo
Over and over again, it has remained proven that what is not understood will be misinterpreted. In today’s world, some PR executives have begun to believe the wrong notion of the dwindling significance of PR in today’s world. So much that in October, last year, a campaign ran on social media to emphasize the problems of the profession, with the hashtag #PRisdead leading the conversation. Who says PR is dead and needs a resurrection?
The Yoruba ethnic group have a proverb that says, “People will only dignify your ware, only if you do.” It has become pertinent to ask if PR companies really want to refrain #PRisdead. Is this what we actually want? It is important also to visit our profession as a worship center that must be dignified. Especially, as we are talking about one that has reinvented itself again and again with every new technology. From prints to radio to TV, to satellite TV. PR has grown bigger. Deirdre K. Breakenridge in his book, Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR, explores these new possibilities.
Contrary to the promoted #PRisdead campaign which ruled the internet, a way of bringing awareness to the challenges being faced in the industry, one would rather say #PRevolved, and this in effect means PRisalive, kicking, hip and ready for the future, and what it will bring. PR is ready to engage the audience and offer an impression of being standoffish in a world fast recognizing sociability as an essential public skill.
Again it is important to reiterate that PR is not dead, what may be happening is that some PR agencies have failed to move from the age-old practice, of media relations, marketing, copywriting and perhaps events planning and management. Many of these agencies have failed to move with the times, and embrace the social awakening which is defining the moment. Today’s PR, we are talking about organisation, simulation and execution controlled and influenced by the social media, just as significantly as the traditional media.
With over 117million mobile users in Nigeria and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) statistics indicating that over 68 million users are on the internet, the possibilities are enormous to conclude that Social Media and PR are not only a winning pair, but the new bread and butter of communications.
It is time for PR practitioners to endeavor to interpret and share the knowledge of the profession than encourage the wrong interpretation, by relearning the influence of this ‘dynamite’ reinventing the profession.
Currently, the PR profession is a knowledge industry that has continued to offer the best minds to the society; employing and offering many brands and people opportunities to reinvent themselves across the world, I dare not agree that #PRisdead.
The PR New Order
In today’s PR, content is King. While this may appear an overstated fact bandied across the global media, it appears to have only little use in the PR practice of many Nigerian agencies. For a Nigerian, the concept of kingship based on our cultural understanding gives even more power to this understanding. Content leads in today’s word, and it is also everywhere also—videos, audio and text are conceived to please the consumer. Content is about satisfying the consumers changing needs. Now, for those who do not understand what this means, it implies PR is the force that continually reveals and confirms the evolving trends of the future.
Also, in today’s new order, PR is about reconstituting the familiar and leaving to own newer terrains, which would well mean integrating the virtual with the physical into a whole. This is talking about digital PR, as it is already being practiced by The Quadrant Company. The leading PR Company is creating newer dynamics through its digital PR platform to bring its clients closer to its consumers.
The Quadrant Company’s offer of diverse content to its client is admirable, considering how it has also balanced its use of the traditional PR with the Digital PR, to meet the virtual dynamism of the new age, while also expanding its boundary into that which must be experienced. Its strategic experiential PR takes the profession to the street to meet consumers, offering those who may not be lettered for the invention of the internet or do not have patience and literacy to follow press releases, feature articles or news stories a chance to be informed of brand offerings.
As PR professionals continue to talk about meeting world standards and representing global brands, it is highly important to bridge the gap between a changed audience, which has and needs information on its fingertips. The new integrated communication agency for this audience or market seeks community. It seeks experience in the information being offered. An experience as being offered by The Quadrant Company.
Any PR agency which is representative of the PR new order is one where the collective experience of the social media is played out in its campaign plans and offered in its propositions to its clients. This is an agency that shares and engages content that reinvents the experience of the consumer, fostering new dreams and mending broken pathways.
It is also important to note that while the tested PR strategies now lacks strength in the wake of a vigorous web and social media empowerment, that enables a user generated content where consumers own their own publishing tools and disseminate information, the PR professional is still the professional—the thought leader in modelling information and routing messages. The PR professional is the one offering method in the chaos.
Owning the future
The current need of most brands now goes beyond press releases, speeches and advertorials. We are talking about the creation of professional platforms and experience where there is an upgrade of creativity in shareable and engaging content, through videos, audio and images.
Today’s PR is immediate, dynamic and full of potentials. It is those who are ready to seek this new future, break down barriers, push innovations and recognise that limitations will be destroyed that will own the future. Any agency not running on turbo speed may be left behind.