In a podcast interview for industry website Mumbrella, I was asked what the priorities were for the Clemenger Group in 2011, from the perspective of our Diversified Marketing Services operations (that is, pretty much anything that’s not a mainstream ad agency).
My response was that a large part of our focus is ensuring we bridge the remaining gaps between the “mainstream”, and the rest, and that nowhere was this more important than the area of public relations.
Having spent most of my career in mainstream ad agencies, I have a fairly well informed understanding of how such operations view public relations.
The last minute call to the PR agency the night before the pitch, with a brief to “PR the idea we’re presenting tomorrow” is not the stuff of legend – it still happens, too frequently.
To be fair, the worlds of advertising and PR have historically not made great efforts to understand each other, and they mostly work with different individuals in the businesses they represent.
And then there’s the issue of the broad definition of “PR”. This can range from the most high-end, often secretive, suited and booted corporate consultancy, involving CEOs and diverse stakeholders, to the most public expressions of a brand’s presence in media and experientially, on the street and point of consumption.
When it comes to ad agencies, it’s most likely this latter area where collaboration opportunities are most apparent.
The good news is that the smart practitioners in brand advertising are seeing that the ability for a great idea to become part of a wider conversation is a great bolster to shift attitudes, behaviours or products.
And who better to encourage and manage a conversation about a great idea than the people from an industry that’s evolved to do just that?
If today’s media landscape can be summed up as an intersecting combination of Paid, Owned and Earned media, it’s the public relations folk in the Earned box seat, but with plenty to offer in both Paid and Owned.
If the time is now, the only question is, what are we doing about achieving the kind of collaboration that is, ridiculously, virtually unknown in the communications industry?