Last Thursday we had a conference at Uni that the whole School of Communications & Marketing (PR, Journalism, Advertising and Marketing students) were invited to. The theme of the conference was Converging Careers and, whilst all the talks (and the free lunch) were really inspiring (and yummy), one talk by Dr. Emma Wray, Solent’s Head of PR & Comms, really stood out to me.
Emma talked about just how much communication has changed and evolved over the past 30 years (including how no one thought that the mobile phone was going to catch on. Lol.) In this post I’m going to chat about 3 points Emma shared that really rang true with the PR world that I know and love, but certainly wasn’t the case for PR practice back in the olden days. Like, the 90s.
“The death of the press release”
Whilst I quite like writing a good old press release, what PR practitioners focus on more nowadays is right up my street. Press releases have turned into storytelling and narratives. Now, for any regular readers of my blog or any friend, acquaintance or someone who has been within earshot of me, will know that I love telling a good story. I could have taken a trip to Tesco Express for a meal deal and it’ll sound a lot like ‘well I was really annoyed with my sister ‘cos, like, she said I could have the car but then she was like ‘oh I said I’d see Sam, soz’ so I was like omg this is so annoying I really wanted to get a meal deal but then she was like oh ok you can go and get a meal deal then I’ll go to Sam’s when you get back so I went to get a meal deal and then when I got back she went to see Sam’. Do you get the idea? Basically, I love telling stories so I couldn’t be more happy that this is now the way to get information out there.
“The right of reply and conversation”
We’ve all been there. We’re really angry at the bank because ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN’T EXTEND MY OVERDRAFT TO £5000’ so we do an angry tweet and, what do ya know, later on in our notifications is: ‘sorry to hear about this, is there anything we can do to help?’. Bit awkward because we just slagged them off to all our followers, however, it’s lovely to be acknowledged. In this day and age, an organisation or brand is expected to be active on Twitter to respond to all our completely petty and whingy tweets but, prior to social media, producing content was the priority – now, managing content is the priority; scanning through media channels to see what’s being said about your brand and dealing with issues. That’s the key to having a top quality online reputation.
“Metrics? More like making an impact, changing perceptions and having an influence”
The word ‘metrics’ actually makes me feel a tad sick to my stomach so I’m pretty glad its on its way out (sorry if that offends any metrics lovers out there). Sure, measuring stuff to do with your organisation and brand is of course important, but its measuring the impact you’re having on your consumers, the public and the world that’s key. If you’re not making an influence or changing anyone’s perceptions then, erm, what’cha doin?
So thanks, Emma, for this little bit of inspiration! I’m glad I’m graduating into this type of PR world…in 8 months time, eeeeekk?!?!