Yesterday, 13 October 2011, was a big day in Canberra.
It was the day hundreds of people from around Australia joined up to Fight Dementia.
Led by Alzheimer’s Australia, this is an ambitious national push that we’re very proud to be part of, providing campaign leadership and continuing support through an innovative pro-bono consultancy model.
Fight Dementia began with a good-ol’ fashioned rally at Parliament House led by Alzheimer’s Australia president, Ita Buttrose – who acknowledged yesterday that until that time she had never participated in a protest march (her exact words: “I was a protest march virgin”).
Fight Dementia asks the Commonwealth to re-invest $500 million over five years in information, research and infrastructure to support what is described as “the 21st century epidemic”.
Dementia activists heard from Ita Buttrose; Alzheimer’s Australia CEO, Glenn Rees; Federal Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler; Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and Sharon Grierson – the Co-Convenor of Parliamentary Friends of Dementia – who spoke to a crowd of carers, health professionals, MPs and their staff.
This was my first-ever march, it was also my first Ita Buttrose encounter; a great moment.
I love working for causes; it’s what I get most passionate about, and this one took the cake. The best for me and other Porter Noveli Melbourne colleagues was being part of a team of people empowered to create social change.
As marchers shouted slogans and carers and sufferers told their stories camera crews circled, photographers snapped, and when the interviews stopped, journos got out their phones to capture their individual moments with Ita.
I was proud it was us, the joint Alzheimer’s Australia-Porter Novelli team that got those journos and network crews there; that it was us coordinating the messaging and the talent; managing the interviews; hassling the pollies – and leading a social media content feed that spurred #fightdementia to trend Australia-wide.
With our heads down and concentrating on the job, it was only at day’s end that we realised what had been achieved, and how while other marketing services suppliers make big news of the work they do for clients, one down side of PR is that we’re never the heroes – that status belongs to our clients.
This post is to say a simple thank you to the event team and all participants, congratulations to Alzheimer’s Australia, and to urge any reader to join us in Fight Dementia’s next phase by joining the fight at: http://www.facebook.com/fightdementia
The numbers: 136 media clips Australia-wide and a TweetReach of almost 30,000.
This is Porter Novelli Melbourne at work, with support from Clemenger Group Limited.
April 18th, 2011
- by Anastasia Golubeva
/ Tags: Tags: advertising
, Public Relations
, Public Relations Institute of Australia
/ Comments (0)
The Work The Work The Work
It’s widely assumed that the craft of Public Relations lacks true creativity.
I’ve always known this opinion to be untrue, having racked my brain countless times to find a newsworthy angle for my clients, however, it has still managed to send me into a poetic depression on more than one occasion.
I can often be found clutching on to my G&T, in the dark serenity of a Surry Hills wine bar, fretting about the futility of trying to encourage ingenuity in our approach when advertisers are the only ones expected to be creative. Yet, any PR person would tell you that when it comes to value for money, teamed with an innovative approach, PR gets coverage above and beyond anything advertising could achieve on the same budget. Frustrating, to say the least!
This is why I was so excited by a recent conference, held by the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA), which portrayed true creativity in action.
The event, titled Creative Juices: How to think big and impress the boss, was aptly held at a moody city club called Space. With tweets flying back and forth, the filming of an impromptu amateur soap opera (with the help of an iPhone 4) and a motza of ideas to inspire us it was truly an insightful and entertaining evening.
Ryan Peal (@ryanpeal) showered us with great ways to transform our approach to brainstorming. Next time your team is really stuck, hire a maxi cab and take a ride around the city instead of meeting in the office. The visual and sensory stimuli could be just what you need to get the ball rolling, forcing the team think outside the boardroom (bored room) square.
Or try bringing outsiders in on your next brainstorm, whether it’s the client, an AE from the advertising company upstairs or your mum! The presence of new people is bound to stimulate a different style of conversation and encourage your team to think a little differently.
And there’s nothing like a little role play to get the creative juices flowing. Try approaching your next long term strategy brainstorm like this:
1. Tell the team their client is X (for the point of this exercise, let’s say Coke).
2. Think of a great campaign.
3. Now tell them that they have left this agency and are instead employed by the agency that represents Pepsi.
4. They know what Coke has in store, it’s pretty fantastic- they thought of it. What can they do to counteract the plan?
Now you have two great ideas, you can pre-empt what the competition would do and you’ve pushed your team to think that little bit harder about the brief!
Here’s another great way to push your team’s brainstorming session:
1. Tell them the brief.
2. Tell them their budget is unlimited.
3. Collate their amazing and over-the-top ideas.
4. Now scale back. Say, no, we can’t have Brad Pitt but what can we have? A lookalike? Maybe we could run a competition to find one and then use a really soft lens?
Before you know it the team will be coming up with some hilarious alternatives that could prove to be better than the original idea!
However, what resonated with me the most was a comment by Scotty Iseri (@scottyiseri). Although he also spoke a lot about the importance of being creative, he actually encouraged us to embrace the limitations of the brief.
It’s all well and good to be creative but “without a frame you’re just arting everywhere,” he said. He stressed the importance of getting a detailed brief and understanding the needs of the client.
This threw me back to Clemenger BBDO’s motto The Work The Work The Work. Indeed, despite the fun that lies in letting your creativity reign, it must inevitably come second to delivering work that best suits the client’s needs.
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?