Is PR dead?

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Our industry rag, the inappropriately named PR Week (it’s monthly, but that’s spin for you) has been exploring the future of PR in its latest issue. Industry consensus is that the term ‘PR’ will die out in the next 15 years as transparency photos and faxes did.

What we’ve experienced is an erosion of the distinction between PR and other marketing disciplines. Whilst the traditional media relations brief hasn’t died, certainly it is a smaller part of our business than ever before. The majority of our clients value our project management and partnership negotiation skills. Sure we still create editorial stories, but these are linked to a broader campaign that we devise, execute and leverage across different media platforms.

Take a recent example of a proposal we did for a global wine brand. At the heart of the concept is an education initiative for on-trade professionals. Our take on it was to develop the credibility of the programme, working with internationally recognised academic and industry bodies, developing content to engage and inspire, appointing ambassadors to drive social media engagement, project manage the actual event and only then did media relations to talk about the experience within the media come into play.

It’s easy for independent practitioners to get lost in the speed of change and even for large agencies to fail to keep up given the pace of change and the time it takes to implement major change. This is where the small to mid-size agencies can grab the initiative, making ourselves flexible and easy to work with. After all, what marketing professional doesn’t want one point of contact?

So whilst we can’t see PR dying out, the speed of the transformation will catch some out as will the need to be closer connected to the other marketing disciplines. Get ready for change.