Monday, 23 September 2013

The Future of PR is anchored in storytelling - by our Chairman, Caroline Kinsey

Last Week’s ‘Future of PR’ PRCA conference was a great gathering together of senior minds and an opportunity to elevate ourselves  from the day to day minutiae of agency life to consider how our industry has developed and where it is heading.

On balance, the future is bright. Life and society are evolving in ways that are ever more uncertain and ever more fast paced which plays to the strengths of PR professionals. As experts already in communications, our role has the opportunity to develop more into becoming trusted strategic advisors, helping a business/brand to interrogate its behaviours to the ‘nth’ degree in order to ensure the communications is credible, honest and robust.  Indeed over 25% of clients in recent research are calling out for PR agencies to  offer better strategic consultancy.  Long gone are the days when we were last to the table. That excites me.

And we deserve as an industry to be excited. To value our role as storytellers ever more. Let’s cast off the shackles of ‘servility’, to quote Mike Morgan from Red, and remind ourselves that these are PR’s halcyon days and we shall never look back. Our understanding of building relationships, tailoring messages to different stakeholders, developing effective and cost efficient creative with real cut-through, living in a real-time environment, showing great agility to respond to the news agenda, understanding and unearthing insight to find out how consumers respond and behave,  are all part of our role as master storytellers.

And our biggest advantage is our expertise of both traditional and social media and our overall channel-neutral approach. As P&G’s Global Brand Building Office Marc Pritchard recently commented ‘digital marketing is dead’, it’s all about brand building and integrating social media inherently into our campaigns.  We fully understand the subtle differences between influencing the media, developing a client’s website, sparking conversations, driving advocacy, agreeing to guaranteed space. They are all integrated to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. We can work with our clients to strike the right balance.

It is this holistic approach that will offer the greatest value back to businesses and brands. Since the conference I’ve been thinking about how we can create a framework around this approach and I think it can be aptly summarised in the acronym – AESOP. The Aggregate between Earned, Shared, Owned and Paid for media. And of course highly memorable given Aesop is arguably the greatest storyteller of all time.

We need to all ensure we adopt an AESOP approach to storytelling and give clear, objective, trusted advice to our clients in terms of overall marketing investment.

Caroline Kinsey is Chairman of Cirkle