Discussing the Future of Advertising and Public Relations: Don’t Dance Alone
By Michael Cherenson, ARP, Fellow PRSA Executive Vice President, SCG Advertising and Public Relations
Embracing the PESO model and creating meaningful links between people, channels, and messages for the future of Advertising and Public Relations.
SURVIVE THE BLIZZARD
The media landscape can be confusing and downright chaotic.
- Consumers are trudging through a blizzard of 9,000 messages, ads, warnings, and bits of information each day.
- Content is being created rapidly. It’s dizzying to consider that in the last 60 days, more video content was uploaded to YouTube than all three major networks generated in the past 60 years.
- Attention spans are shrinking, and are now down to as little as eight seconds.
And, despite the proliferation of media – imagine, 62% of U.S. adults get news via social media, 40% from Facebook alone – only 4% of web-using American adults trust information found on social media. In order to reach consumers through the blizzard, the appropriate communication strategy is simple: make it two-way, personal, relevant, timely, and relatable.
Be Agnostic AND EMBRACE P.E.S.O.
This on-demand, omnichannel world requires a seamless and frictionless communication environment. Yet too many organizations continue to think and communicate in silos, without tapping the true power of today’s multi-channel opportunities. Communication and marketing require leaders who recognize the power of integration and building teams that provide a 360-degree perspective, beyond just job description and function.
According to Harvard Law School lecturer Heidi K. Gardner, challenges today can be more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) than ever, requiring the incorporation of specialists to solve problems. For example, cyber-security has gone beyond IT and now requires teams with expertise in human resources, corporate communications, supply chain management, along with internal and external advisors.
Integrating multiple communication channels demands that an organization listens intently, embraces what Gini Dietrich called the P.E.S.O. communication model (be open to all forms of paid, earned, shared, and owned media), and is agnostic to channel.
A recent Holmes Report survey predicted that by 2020, 36% of public relations agency revenue will come from earned media, owned will contribute 24.6%, shared will represent 24.2%, and paid will constitute 12.9%.
Consider the lynchpin of earned media: media relations. Six of 10 reporters use shared media platforms like Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn for research. Nearly 90% use Google and owned media to research companies. And with shared media, a recent Gartner report says sustained social media success now requires paid advertising. Traditional advertising requires social integration, and even publicity can be utilized as sponsored content or native advertising.
Wearing just an advertising or public relations hat – or living solely in the digital world – is not enough. It’s about consumers and their needs, not the particular communication discipline you espouse.
As Aaron Perlut explained at a recent Forbes Agency Council, brands need to surround their target in slightly different ways. Marry your audience, not channels.
Beyond the failure to listen and share across media channels, disciplines, and departments, many marketers remain shortsighted. Many are focused on the stepping stones of brand and reputation, but not sought-after relationships.
It’s essential that prospective customers know who you are and what you stand for. But, even more importantly, are they willing to engage with you? It’s not enough to be noticed — do they want to dance, and then keep dancing?
Brand drives familiarity and awareness, while reputation builds trust. Both are shaped by informal sources (peers and friends), or professional sources, including experts, rating agencies, and the media. The ongoing experience, dependability, predictability, accessibility, affability and media environment all shape the stability of the relationships, as well as prospects for future business and referral.
SHOW YOUR HEART
If the goal is getting that dance – to engage with consumers, impact behaviors, and spark action – messaging must be compelling, contextual, meaningful, authentic, heart-felt, and story-rich. Beyond buzzwords, messaging needs to matter to those you serve, not simply to you.
In the end, it comes down to a simple reality. To be truly effective in communicating, you must listen, develop messages from the heart, and be open to multiple media forms, sharing appropriately across the entire media spectrum. Living in just one media world means that you dance alone.