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Does the PR industry have an identity crisis?

Posted by Lorraine Jenkins on 22nd June 2016

There has been a lot of valuable debate in the industry lately as to what skill-set, structure and services the PR agency of the future will need. And now our industry body, the Public Relations Consultancy Association, or PRCA, is wondering whether the term PR is actually too limiting a name for what we do.

I do get it, I really do. The nature of PR is changing and it’s important that our industry body reflects that. We’ve focused a lot on developing an integrated service offering at Wildfire. But I can’t help wondering whether this latest name change debate suggests something of an identity crisis?

Ad agencies have evolved their services but they’re still called ad agencies. Digital agencies are constantly reinventing themselves, but they’re still digital agencies. And for what it’s worth I think the PR industry should stop debating what we call ourselves and just get on with delivering outstanding results to our clients.

Our job is to build reputations, change perceptions and more than ever, apply creative thinking to develop ideas that inspire audiences to take action, whether that is to watch a video, make a web enquiry or buy a product.

It’s true that the traditional boundaries between advertising and PR are breaking down, mainly because both industries focus on producing great content (hopefully). Our business models remain very different though and I think PR represents better value than ever these days.

Why? PRs have always had to put together a compelling pitch to win an audience over, we have always had to earn the right to tell our stories (rather than buy media space).  And those story-telling skills are more honed than ever because the media results, web traffic and sales leads our clients demand depend upon our story-telling skills.

Add to that the modern PR agency skill-set which includes understanding of the buying cycle, social, digital, SEO and even paid media and you have a very compelling offering.

I appreciate there is an element of ‘yes, you would say that’ about my final words, but I’m going to say them anyway. If you want a great idea to bring your brand to life, a standout piece of content that captures the imagination of your audience and a strategy that works across all your media channels, then a good PR agency is a great place to start.

Lorraine Jenkins

Lorraine is always available to share her decades of technology PR experience with the team. As well as putting her unparalleled research and market positioning skills to use and regularly bombarding the team with industry news and trends, Lorraine is always ready to roll up her sleeves and produce hard hitting research questions or industry whitepapers to position clients as market leaders.