Wednesday,April 26 2017
News
PR vs. Marketing: Stop Fighting Over Dead Labels
I read with interest Rebekah Iliff’s Mashable post, which attempts to reconcile the roll of “PR” and “marketing” in the modern marketing communications landscape. To be sure, everyone across the marcomms landscape should be looking for opportunities to engage consumers (or customers or stakeholders, depending on the business need), but beyond that laudable purpose, Illiff’s piece tries to make a series of distinctions that would be better left in the past.
(1) Art vs. science. The piece concludes, in effect, that PR is art and marketing is science. (We’ll deal with the terms “PR” and “marketing” in a moment, but let’s accept the author’s usage for now.) This distinction is transparently rubbish.
Now and in the future, PR has to excel in “science.” As a discipline, PR has to keep working to be more data driven and quantitative, so that ideas are rooted in real insights (beyond mere intuition) and in order to keep demonstrating the value of what PR delivers to the client’s bottom line. (Old PR metrics like AVE are dead and buried, finally and deservedly drowned in their own deceptive nature.)
Meanwhile, great marketing, rooted as it should be in content, must rely on the purely artistic discipline of storytelling to make connections and build conversations with target audiences.
(2) “PR” vs. “marketing”. More widely, the piece represents a lengthy defense of a bunch of tired, stale, increasingly irrelevant labels. PR? Marketing? These terms are legacies of the old way of organising and buying marcomms services. What relationship do they have with today’s marcomms landscape?
To be sure, many clients still buy services this way. But PR has just as much right to the marcomms budget pie as anyone. So why so defensive? In practice, labels matter far less than ideas. And the team that turns up with the best ideas wins the budget.
The wider marcomms industry will likely carry on using these labels as convenient shorthand that clients and procurement people understand until new terms emerge into general use. That’s very definition of the term “legacy.”
But taken as the piece presents them, these labels are limiting, and PR firms shouldn’t allow themselves to be limited by them in the slightest. Sometimes that means re-educating clients and fighting for ideas, but PR’s DNA is rooted in relationships and conversations, two critically important components of success for any programme in today’s marcomms landscape.
Fold in great ideas (which can come from anywhere), instinctive understanding of the news agenda (and therefore, a natural ability to deliver timely content), and heritage of being the most nimble of marcomms disciplines, and it’s clear that such limits really are misplaced.
So rather than try and defend PR’s old label for the old world, I’d suggest that PR keeps ignoring the old labels clung to by others and continues to find new ways to excel.
There’s a reason so many people are talking about convergence: It’s because convergence is happening. Old, false distinctions are eroding, and I, for one, think this is great for the whole industry.
Author; Marshall Manson, EAME Managing Director Social@Ogilvy
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  • ABOUT US

    Ogilvy Public Relations drives influence at scale to effect change.

    We believe that to deliver commercial value and demonstrable change, we need to drive influence at an ever increasing scale. That means we encourage bigger, simple thinking to drive better results, by fostering a culture of permissive creativity, aggressive curiosity and smart collaboration.

    Ogilvy Public Relations/London is PRCA Large Consultancy of the Year 2013 + 2014

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    FOLLOW US: @OgilvyPRLondon

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  • WHAT WE DO

    Our core offerings include:

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    • SOCIAL MEDIA
    • B2B COMMUNICATIONS
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    • CORPORATE REPUTATION
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  • CONTACT US

    OGILVY PR LONDON
    Sea Containers, 18 Upper Ground, London, SE1 9RQ
    T: +44 (0) 20 3193 3000
    E: info@ogilvyprlondon.com

    For all new business enquiries, please contact:
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    T: +44 (0) 7973673074

  • DIRECTIONS

    By Bike: 
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    By Tube:
    The nearest tube is Southwark (Jubilee Line), an 8 minute walk from Sea Containers. Alternatively Waterloo (Jubilee, Northern, Bakerloo & Waterloo & City) is 15 minutes walk.
    By Car:
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    There are many bus routes that operate around Sea Containers. We advise either using Google Maps or Transport For London’s journey planner to find the best route from your start point to our office.
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    Been tempted by what you’ve seen and want to be part of one of our world-class practices? To find out more on current opportunities please click here or send your CV and covering letter to Sara.Walpole@ogilvy.com