Integrated wins, brand newsrooms lose

Marketers rate brand newsrooms as the most overhyped initiative. So what should PR be focusing on?

Christopher Graves, global chairman, Ogilvy Public Relations
Christopher Graves, global chairman, Ogilvy Public Relations

Brand newsrooms have been popping up all over the planet. So it was surprising when we at the PR Council did a snap survey and found that about 49 per cent of senior marketing execs we polled within the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) already deemed real-time marketing and brand newsrooms as the most overhyped initiatives.

In descending order of unwarranted hype, they ranked: 1) brand newsrooms; 2) native advertising; 3) social media & social business; 4) content marketing; 5) big data & analytics; 6) influencer marketing; 7) mobile marketing; 8) integrated marketing.

On the flip side, we asked them to prioritise the most important marketing strategy going forward. 77 per cent chose integrated marketing as number one or two priority. Content marketing was a distant second with 40 per cent choosing it as number one or two. Brand newsrooms drew only 9 per cent and native advertising ranked last with just 4 per cent.

We also asked marketers who should lead which areas of expertise in the company. They said, unsurprisingly, they should lead most, including: brand narrative; content marketing; social media strategy & community management; influencer mapping and outreach. That last one is surprising since PR should have a core competence in influence — real influence that you have to earn through relationship building. 

"This is the key difference between advertising and PR," said Brian Solis at Altimeter Group. "Advertising will find a few top celebs, some of them being internet-famous, to become part of a campaign. [But] PR will find said influencers and nurture longer-term relationships that keep the brand relevant now and in the long term … in an era of social media, PR is more important than we know."

Christopher Graves is global chairman of Ogilvy Public Relations, chair of the PR Council and a trustee of the Institute for PR. Follow or Tweet him at @cgraves.

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