Do you remember the time before Facebook? It might sound silly but in fact we got used to social media [sm] so much that it is hard to recall how we communicated before the rise of social platforms. They have not only changed our personal lives but also the way public relations is practiced. With the introduction of social media, a traditional PR has shifted into PR 2.0., as Brian Solis called it in the 90s. According to Breakenridge, “the new channels of interaction, real time content and the ability to have a 24/7 focus panel gave public relations a chance to fully develop the idea of two-way symmetric communication” (Breakenridge, 2008, p14-15), which is an ideal model of PR described by Grunig and Hunt. But is it actually true that social media brought the public closer to PR and allowed it to be an equal partner in the conversation?
No one likes to be forced to do things. The bans often cause the opposite effect and the overwhelming amount of rules make us want to break them. But what if our behaviour could be subtly influenced and guided in the certain direction without our knowledge? As explained in the Ketchum blog post by Stephen Waddington, “Nudge theory is a technique developed in behavioural science and psychology that asserts small indirect suggestions can have a huge change and positive effect on outcomes.” The effectiveness of nudges led to the development of behavioural marketing and the use of nudges by governments and the private sector. It is clear that nudges work, so how could they be used in PR? And can we still call it PR if we use something which is not readily visible and transparent?
On Friday the 13th I had a chance to see the fashion photography exhibition at the Somerset House. As always, when I go to the art exhibition, I felt like it was a whole ceremony including having a coffee before (or after) the tour, taking pictures and posting them on Instagram with a certain hashtag made up by the PR team of the art display, visiting the gift shop and buying postcards which would remind me of the exhibition. How much art is left in the art itself when the last stop of the display is a gift shop with NARS’s beauty stand, a brand which sponsored the exhibition?
Watching Kardashians leave no doubts that today everything is for sale. The death of Terry Pratchett created an ‘excellent’ opportunity for PR and marketing people to recall his novels and display the books in the spotlight of the bookstores, but also to raise the issue of the Alzheimer disease. The birth of the second royal baby will soon start the media madness and the race for the best front page. Even the suspension of the Top Gear host, Jeremy Clarkson (see the last post), was commercially used by Lego to promote Legoland Windsor Resort’s Lego Driving School reopening, which is – we have to admit – a smart and creative PR tactic. What is it all about? Promotional culture we live in.
Usually, media are the carriers of information for the PR messages. But sometimes media alone are the cause of the (inter)national news and massive coverage. This week brought Jeremy Clarkson on the agenda when the Top Gear presenter was suspended by BBC after allegedly punching a producer, Oisin Tymon. In the same time, there is a huge storm over the case of a major Polish TV news presenter who is accused of the sexual harassment of his female coworkers. These cases pose the questions about the role of PR in the crisis situation of a media outlet and how this crisis affects the individuals involved?
If you have ever dreamt of being a princess or a prince, you should watch the BBC documentary ‘Reinventing the Royals’. This two-part series is far from showing the Royal Family in the typical historic and glamorous context. Instead, Steve Hewlett who wrote and presented the documentaries examine the stormy relations between the members of the British Monarchy and the media after the death of Princess Diana.
I used to work in the fashion PR agency with more than 20 women and only one man. In my PR group at the university there are 23 girls and 2 guys. And yet, although 63% of PR people are women (PRCA Census 2013), I read that two-thirds of PRWeek readers agree that PR industry is sexist. It’s 2015, isn’t it the high time for a change?!
What I find so exciting about PR is its diversity. To work as a PR professional it’s not enough to be a talented master of communications. Good writing skills, the ability to listen, knowledge from the various fields like sociology, law and media marketing, and high emotional intelligence are even more important than an outgoing personality. What can also be very useful is familiarity with psychology and consumer behaviours, especially when we realize how relevant to PR is the phenomenon of Word of Mouth [WoM].
The relation between PR professionals and journalists can rarely be described as a sweet marriage. Nevertheless, media relations is an essential part of the PR practice and shouldn’t be underestimated, especially that, according to The Guardian, there are more PRs than journalists both in the UK and the US. As a newbie in the PR industry I soon will need to face the necessity of pitching media and bloggers who I don’t personally know, talking on the phone with the people whom I’ve never seen and send friendly emails to strangers. So the question is how to build lasting relationships with journalists and succeed in pitching the client’s story?
Another big night is behind us. Soon after the Super Bowl fever, the Oscars came and heated up social media. Although we haven’t witnessed anything quite similar to the last year’s world famous Oscars selfie, the Academy Awards and red carpet stars were again in the spotlight of the Internet users. According to Synthesio, the Oscars gained more than 440,000 mentions in social media, with the majority of the conversations (67.4%) revolved around the show in general and only 11.2% about the actual films.