I was watching a television advertisement the other day for Bailey’s Irish Cream liquor, probably during the Sunday morning B.A.S.S. Tour program on ESPN8, and thought to myself, "Does this ad truly reach its audience?" In my opinion, people who enjoy watching Takahiro Omori land a 10 lb. largemouth bass don’t drink Bailey’s, nor would this audience be intrigued by a commercial that depicts a man ordering a round of Bailey’s for his urban-hip comrades. Even if advertisers were able to reach the right audience with an ad for a new lure, is this paid-for message more powerful than a recommendation from a friend due to a favorable – and unbiased -- review of the new deep-water bass jig from In-Fisherman?
My point you ask? PR is back, baby!
Recently, The Economist (link) featured an article about the resurgence of corporate spending in the public relations industry. According to a recent internal study conducted by Procter and Gamble, the company’s public relations efforts produced more results than traditional forms of advertising. Mind you this is Procter and Gamble, the inventor of the television soap opera. With such positive results, it is little wonder that PR spending in the U.S. has more than doubled since 1999.
Because PR professionals often get a bum rap for being a nuisance to various media types, I must say that it is refreshing to see that our efforts recognized publicly. As "brand communicators" our job is vital to properly communicating corporate messaging to media outlets. I prefer to think of our trade as media crossing guards. We are the ones that wait at the bus stop with the bright, yellow jackets, eager to take corporate brands and initiatives by the hand. With calculated public relations plans we determine when it is time to cross Press Ave. and introduce our clients to a targeted audience.
With the much buzzed-about media fragmentation, the public relations industry has the chance to become an even more effective tool by proving flexible enough to incorporate the various forms of new media into their messaging plans. Understanding the power and influence of podcasts, blogs, satellite radio, etc. is necessary for PR to continue to grow at the pace outlined in The Economist.
Let’s continue to wear those shiny yellow vests and practice "service with a smile" to assist our clients reach their PR goals.