So I was quietly making my way to the office from the train station Friday morning and a little bloke came up from behind me, swung around and said, “Stop shoving your war support in my face!”
Apparently by wearing a Remembrance Day red poppy to show my support of all those who have fallen or suffered for Australia’s cause in war and armed conflict, I have offended this man.
He is entitled to his view, me to mine.
At 11am on 11 November 1918 the guns of Europe’s Western Front fell silent after more than four years of fighting. Since that time, 11am on 11 November has become a time to stop, reflect and remember all those who have died or been injured as a result of war.
I looked in quiet dismay at the stories running through the news sites and found those focused on what’s most important to me on 11/11 were not those most important to others. And then I saw this and felt sad:
You bought a poppy but do you really care?
Yes I care and very much so. I don’t care for war, but I care for freedom and justice and I care very much for the fabulous country that is Australia. I care deeply for those so brave people that lost their lives for my care of freedom and justice.
So I took one minute to be silent at 11am and I will wear my poppy proudly this day and every year going forward.
That little man may well chose to do otherwise.
PR needs to promote its creative side
Advertising agencies are known as the hot houses of big ideas and creativity. What few realise is that the same can be said about public relations firms.
Time and again, public relations agencies don’t promote the creative work they do. In fact, PR firms are often so busy working to raise awareness for clients that they seldom remember to generate the same level of awareness for themselves.
The public relations industry needs to promote itself as a big-picture creative strategist, the engine-room of lateral thinking.
Innovative ideas are at the core of the most successful media campaigns. Creativity in PR may not have the same visibility as Clemenger BBDO’s acclaimed NAB Break-up ad campaign, but nonetheless the impact of a creatively-driven PR campaign has incredible power and reach.
This was demonstrated in The Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) campaign that Porter Novelli launched last year. The objective was to attract more visitors to the museum. Based on this broad brief, Porter Novelli put its creative hat on.
The vision was to create an environment where people could come together and share their experiences of democracy. From this, the idea of a series of speaker events – Uncensored Conversations – came to life.
By pushing traditional boundaries with the choice of speakers, Porter Novelli extended the appeal of MoAD and helped more Australians understand what democracy means in today’s society.
The strength of this campaign was in the seamless integration of social media, audio and video multimedia to drive awareness and ultimately traffic to the museum.
We need to get past the generalisation that a great PR person is someone who has such great relationships with journalists that they can position any story.
PR is so much more than this. It’s a perception issue the public relations industry has to address in order to extend its role in the future.
And the #Oscar goes to… Twitter
Twitter has changed the landscape for how news is identified and shared. Nothing new in that statement.
This week’s Oscars provide an obvious case in point.
Co-host James Franco (using #oscarsrealtime) was one of 388,717 tweeters, tweeting as the ceremony unfolded and even posting footage of his first steps onto the stage http://say.ly/BNqa5c
Tweets referencing the Oscars totaled an impressive 1,269,970, generating 1,663,458,778 potential impressions.
Contrast that with Nine’s evening replay of the event: 505 000 Australians tuned in, down nearly 200 000 last year.
To manage this evolution, what do we need to know?
We need to understand and respect – even if we disagree with the accuracy or integrity of content – the power of information shared via social media platforms
Twitter particularly provides quick, inexpensive (read: free) and measurable means to tap a community’s thoughts, gauge and manage response, and operate in real time
The passive consumption model is less valid each day; consumers want and will participate, even if they don’t know what they’re talking about
The daily news beach-head of the mastheads in print and broadcast are now part of the media landscape – not the dominant feature
PR in the box seat
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?
Welcome, hello, now let’s get started.
Porter Novelli Melbourne
Back L-R: David, Briony, Louise, Patrick, Charlie, Emma, Michael, Middle L-R: Nyree, Lauren, Peter, Zoe, Therese, Sarah, Front L-R: Mandy, Carol, Jakob
We’ve made it. Our web transformation is complete, right down to the day we said we would be back.
So let me re-introduce ourselves. We are Porter Novelli Australia. Part of a global public relations team behind some really great stuff. Don’t worry, this blog won’t be all about ourselves, we are here to start a conversation, so make sure you join in.