I want to thank Julia Hood for having the courage to state in her recent column ("It's not taboo for PR to admit that ads do work sometimes," PRWeek, January 15) that "focusing too minutely on one aspect of the marketing picture will ultimately doom PR if it becomes one more communications silo that keeps it from being part of the whole brand strategy."
Her column about the motivators for her buying new Bose headphones couldn't have been a more poignant call to arms for PR pros. Most consumers don't buy a product simply based on a blog. They buy it, as she did, based on their holistic brand experience with that product.
Therefore, PR pros must embrace the role of holistic brand builders and not view ourselves as simply one piece of a larger marketing communications puzzle we do not control. If we don't, others will. And the end result will be that PR is treated like a commodity tactic as opposed to a strategic leader. It's already happening far too often.
At Warschawski, we created a proprietary model, BrandMaPR (brand-map-er). The etymology of the word BrandMaPR stems from what we view as the ideal marketing communications model: Clarity of an organization's brand (Brand) leads to the creation of powerful brand-centric marketing programs (Ma) that by their very nature must have strong PR opportunities built into them (PR). This lets us take the strategic lead in helping companies clarify their brand DNA and then holistically build the brand through marketing and PR techniques that reinforce and grow the brand.
My hope is for other firms to follow suit and realize we have to move beyond the old narrow focus that many feel defines PR. It is this siloed approach, coupled with PR's cluelessness when it comes to branding, that too often costs us the proverbial seat at the table. We must move quickly to own a function we're well-prepared to manage: strategic and holistic leadership of building brands for clients.
TJX, Turner both fail
The laggard response by TJX Corp. to its customer-data hemorrhage, followed by the shakedown of Boston by Turner Broadcasting's ill-conceived promotional "stunt" reveals a disquieting parallel: the inconceivable failure by large organizations to realize that homeland security and identity fraud are 24-7 realities requiring their highest level of managerial governance ("Turner enlists PR aid as publicity stunt goes awry," PRWeek, February 5).
Installing a senior communications officer and truly using that person's expertise is an essential business practice that could have averted this fiasco. While these episodes spotlight the inextricable link between revenue and sound public communications, their legacies will play out for quite some time in the courts of law and public opinion, with expensive lessons of both "dollars" and "sense."
Clarity Communications Group