But over the past few years, public relations, or should I say PR, has become misconstrued - even belittled.
An abbrievation that brings with it images of spin, publicity or just never ending lunching and networking.
I beg to differ.
We do so much more than this outdated image suggests, as smart and connected public relations practitioners.
We are tuned in to the media landscape and cultural zeitgeist knowing how to tell a great brand story that delivers impact upon decision makers and tastemakers alike.
We understand what it takes to relate to the public and we know how to create and maintain a favourable public image (as it happens, the original dictionary definition of what ‘public relations’ stands for).
We understand what it takes to truly relate to a brand’s audiences – by understanding people and what makes them tick to tell the right story to the right customer at the right time.
It’s an art and a science that public relations practitioners have mastered over many years.
Creating advocacy to change a behaviour, share a brand’s purpose, or sell a new product is all part of what we do.
We know how to influence the right people to capture their hearts and minds, ensuring brands stand for something, developing a POV and delivering campaigns that really make a difference.
In an era of conversation and engagement, we’re well versed in talking to the public, not at them…sitting at the intersection of brands and their audiences - explaining one to the other.
Be it through media relations, social engagement, influencer content and partnerships or directly via experiential activations.
How we shape brand messages and drive the news agenda has remained the same. It’s how we share and fuel brand stories that has evolved.
The changing world around us, be it Trump, Brexit or simply the convergence of marketing channels, has redefined how brands have to connect and relate to their audiences – up close and personal - in uncertain times.
It’s alarmingly simple what we do. But it’s not easy.
Relating to the public - through earning media impact and spreading word of relevant mouth - is in our blood. And that’s what we’re best at.
It’s too important to be abbreviated or misappropriated.
We, as a modern public relations company, feel so passionately about this need for clarity that we’ve changed our name to underline our point of view when it comes to who we are and what we do.
Public relations finally has an equal seat at the marketing table and rightly so.
It is becoming the discipline of choice for many CEOs and CMOs across big, established forward facing brands.
I urge all companies with public relations at its core to embrace what we do - and be proud of it.
Molly Aldridge is global CEO of M&C Saatchi Public Relations