There has never been a more interesting time to be in the business of public relations. At Access, we are energized by how rapidly this industry is changing through the convergence of “old” and “new” tactics and tools, altering how people receive, process and disseminate information. Perhaps it’s because we feel as though the industry is finally shifting toward an approach we long ago adopted.
Access began as a traditional advertising and design agency 16 years ago. By the time we added PR in 2003, the Internet had dramatically changed how people decided on and bought the goods and services they needed. The challenge of helping clients communicate in this new paradigm radically changed how we do business.
Enter social media, which for many clients is a conundrum. How do we pique interest without overselling? How do we nudge customers over the tipping point between knowing and “liking”? How do we show ROI in a world where “column inches” aren’t measured? And how do we shape trends into preferences that lead to sales? Early on, we recognized our agency needed to evolve to become an integrated communications firm, bringing together the best creative and PR have to offer.
Sarah Skerik of prdaily.com blogs about five trends in PR and the skills practitioners need to ride these trends effectively: how telling a story that resonates with an audience can be pure gold; how we expect—not crave—visual elements to speak directly to the soul; and how to use today’s analytical tools to turn beliefs and desires into numbers that make sense to clients. Most of all, Skerik says, the lines of traditional marketing are blurring, and PR people must update or dust off traditional skills to keep up with today’s social media scene.
We agree that identifying ideas that are larger than life and engaging audiences on a personal, emotional and visceral level are part of every effective marketing campaign, but now they are also a critical part of great PR. This is why every PR challenge at Access begins with an interdisciplinary team that explores a variety of ideas and solutions before selecting the correct strategies and tactics for a particular project.
In today’s 24/7 online environment, where everyone has an opinion and we have the opportunity to connect with consumers in ways we never have before, integrated communications is key to getting results. Advertising, media relations and social media are no longer completely separate entities that need to be confined to separate rooms. Rather, in order to be successful communicators and strategists, we must constantly look at new ways to work together and creatively execute a host of tactics that, together, will accomplish something truly amazing.
This is the Access approach, and it’s what we do best. Suffice it to say, we have a unique agency structure that is embracing the new model of PR, and the two could not be more perfectly aligned.