Davina Brewer of 3 Hats Communications writes a snappy blog chock full of opinion and pizazz. Here, in her comment (with permission) I extracted from my blog post “Should We Define PR for Fifth Graders?” Davina shares her thoughts on this debatable exercise. Thanks, Davina!
Davina Brewer of 3 Hats Communications Says:
1) No we should not define PR or public relations for a 5th grader or grandparent. Not at the expense of oversimplifying or limiting the scope of PR. Yes I spend most of my days in front of a computer; so do lawyers and accountants and therapists and lots of other folks; that doesn’t define what we do, merely illustrates a little of the mechanics of how we do it.
Maybe for this group, we ask “when was the last time a brand or company impressed you and why?” Maybe the company comped a deal, maybe a brand offers extraordinary service, maybe the answer may have to do with an overall branding strategy that includes good PR and then we can reply, “that’s what we do.” But I don’t know many 5th graders, so not sweating it.
2) We do need to make the meaning of PR more transparent, less oblique. It’s not a bad thing, because the barrier to me is the talent and ability to do it right, to do it well. Not everyone can be a copywriter, design ads, plan commercials, or orchestrate complicated media buys; those concepts aren’t clear but they aren’t vague to the layperson who at least ‘gets’ a little about advertising.
Public relations practitioners can write well, research and identify stories that others can’t; just met with some reporters a couple weeks ago, one mentioned that in a general interview w/ a biz exec it wasn’t until the END of the meeting that he let slip something good, something really newsworthy. Now it was a deal that maybe needed to be under wraps for a while but it also hinted at me that maybe this company needed some media and PR training per so many of these definitions that cover ‘story telling’ and how PR uses that to communicate.
We can identify the different audiences important to a company, how to communicate effectively with employees and investors, how to manage a crisis, how the HR team needs to work with sales, with support, with customer service, which brings me to:
3) We do need to play nice with the other kids in the sandbox. Integration is one of my schticks so while I don’t like defining PR against other aspects of the marketing mix, I don’t mind putting it in context that strategically integrated PR works to support branding, advertising, social media and other promotional activities to help companies communicate with their target audiences. In terms of publicity, it’s earned vs. paid for media; maybe it’s data mining the R&D or customer support departments, figuring out how high the referral rates are, what a great story that is to tell and how it’s best to tell it: ads, social media, events, etc.
I’ve written one post on this, kinda come back to making it relatable. I asked for examples – something in context that yes friends and family can ‘get’ and that clients can understand and appreciate, per their business goals and objectives – but at the end of the day what matters most to me is that:
I know what GOOD PR is.
I k now how to do my job well.
I can effectively educate my clients on what PR is and is not.
I know when the definition of PR is obfuscated or trivialized in the media, it is important to address the error, correct it.