You know the value that you add, the potential influence that you wield – and yet too often this is undervalued by the business world, the media and popular culture. It is not a new problem. But I would argue it is one best addressed by championing the sort of results that great campaigns can achieve.
This was the thinking behind the latest of our themed issues of PRWeek; to concentrate for once on ‘the work’ that the best professionals produce; work with proven, long-term results – real cultural impact.
It wasn’t hard identifying some recent campaigns that do just that for our main feature, 'Game changers'. Indeed it was difficult to pare these down just to a handful. It was, however, an incredibly useful exercise. One that not only explains the value of the PR community but helps us define further what ‘PR’ should mean today.
The campaigns analysed here are not classic PR efforts. And that is the point. This is work that is huge – often global – in ambition; it talks to a multitude of stakeholders; and it is based on strong consumer insight with creative bravery.
Crucially, to tick all these boxes, the best campaigns today necessarily blur the old lines between brand marketing, corporate affairs, advertising and digital. This is more than just integration; it is the total convergence of bought/owned/earned/shared media skills to create singular, powerful narratives – not a bad definition of modern marketing.
In campaigns such as Unilever’s Project Sunlight and Chipotle’s Scarecrow there is a strong sense of corporate purpose that has always defined great ‘PR’ efforts. And yet PR is not necessarily the lead discipline. Sometimes the critical insight and ideas may come from the ad agency, the marketing department or even the CEO. But that shouldn’t matter. The world has come round to what used to be known as the PR viewpoint: that authentic reputation management must lie at the heart of corporate promotion. Ethics become central, not a CSR add-on.
So now is the time for you, the PR professionals, to seize your crown. It is time to learn from the other disciplines, particularly in terms of customer insight and powerful, filmic creative. This, combined with your influence and vision, will enable you to lead businesses profitably in the right direction. A very confident career manifesto.