Posted by Leo Tignini
Thanks to the Public Relations Initiative and all the people who voted, I now have a definition of what I do so my mom and dad (or kids for that matter) can talk somewhat intelligently about my employment. As you might have heard, it has been decided that Public Relations has just redefined itself as “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” Sounds great, less filling. Now, please remind me how this changes anything?
The truth is, the PR industry has had identity crises for some time. Having worked at several PR agencies for well over a decade, the one common denominator was that they all fell short of promoting their work – which is not to say, they didn’t do great work. Although we might not have the same sexy visual appeal as advertising, PR is very much “a see it to believe it” industry.
I was recently reminded of this shortcoming when I began writing a collection of case studies for DiGennaro Communications. I thought a good starting point for my research would be to look at case studies across all facets of the PR industry as a frame of reference. Unsurprisingly, this task wasn’t very easy. Case studies were outdated, lacked detail and in many cases (no pun intended) were difficult to find on agency websites.
This is the root of the problem. It’s not about definitions and wordplay. While you can play around with the definition of public relations all you want, we need to SHOW how our stories changed the way people live and do business – one client at a time. Focus on the experience not the definition. Besides, PR is beyond definition.
Social media channels are presenting us with more opportunities to strut our stuff more than ever. There is an abundance of opportunity to SHOW not TELL. There is a method to our madness that can only be explained through visual case studies, a deeper focus on numbers/metrics client vignettes and testimonials, and of course, word of mouth.