The advance from PR’s core

Posted on 26/10/2011

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Evidence from the PR Week / PRCA PR Census demonstrates that the industry is continuing its drift away from traditional and specialist PR services and more towards general marketing disciplines.

This is demonstrated by my mapping of the areas respondents to the Census claim will increase in importance over the next two years against what can be seen as ‘specialist PR services’ and ‘wider marketing services’ with ‘core PR services’ in the middle:

Graphic showing the increasing importance of various areas of PR industry

From this reading of the respondents’ views, the mainstream PR community is moving away from the PR specialisms – leaving these to specialist and boutique operators. It also looks to be abandoning the events and sales promotion industry – potentially leaving a gap for ‘PR stunt’ and events agencies to move into.

And while this chart re-enforces how important online PR and integration of wider marketing disciplines are to any PR campaign, is it really the role of in-house PR teams and PR agencies to offer all of the services on the graphic above?

As a minimum, they should excel in those ‘core PR services’ and, depending on the organisation, offer ‘specialist’ PR services (or know where to find contractors and add them on).

But while online communications can form part of all PR and marketing strategies, the key to effective delivery is communications integration.

Rather than trying to offer every service on the above chart, PRs should understand how these tactics and disciplines can be used and look to take one of three routes (as I’ve argued before):

1. Merge all in-house marketing teams together or join with a group of like-minded marketing agencies – and look to integrate the best of each discipline to offer all ‘wider marketing services’.

2. Concentrate on making your department / team / agency as good as it can be in ‘core PR’ services or ‘core + specialist services’, but be clear where you sit in the mix and work on an equal footing with other disciplines.

3.Start again. Create a marketing team or agency from scratch, which is equipped for the 21st Century. And where training, professional development and outside expertise are used to bolt onto a core team which understands modern, online / broadcast centric communications.