PR: Creating And Sharing Ideas The Public Can’t Live Without

One of the biggest challenges of working in PR is explaining to your parents exactly what it is you do and, in my case, why.

The usual definitions fall short, and PR people themselves can rarely agree. Get ten of us in a room and ask what we do, and you’ll get 20 different answers. Ask non-PR people the same thing and they’ll probably roll their eyes, mutter something about ‘spin’ or just leave the room.

So after 20+ years of ineffectual explanations, it was a little surprising to stumble upon a description (see title) that not only seems to explain the ‘what’ part, but add a little insight into ‘why’ as well.

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Does data improve PR creativity?

Rob Flaherty, our Chief Executive Officer & President, recently sat down for a Q&A with U.K.-based magazine PR Moment to discuss how research and data can improve the creative process.

As Seen in PR Moment…

The relationship between creativity and data in public relations is an interesting one. Data analytics is improving the effectiveness of PR. But what is the impact of data on ideas and creativity?

It is obvious that data can help amplify a campaign once it is up and running by giving insight into what is working and what isn’t, but I’m more sceptical of the extent to which data has a useful impact on the conception of an idea.

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Man lives in IKEA

By allowing a comedian full access to everything inside an IKEA store to film a series of videos, Ketchum helped engage millions of consumers on the IKEA website, and ultimately drove store sales.

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Breaking the Sound Barrier

2014 has been another explosive year for music and brands. During this year’s Advertising Week, the Ketchum Sounds team assembled the best of music industry thought leaders to participate in a panel on how to effectively use communications to breakthrough with music!

I moderated a panel comprised of some phenomenal industry luminaries including Marcie Allen (Founder of MAC Presents), Matt Ringel (Red Light Management) and Ketchum clients Jeffrey Moran (Pernod Ricard), and Jessica Erskine (StubHub). The group presented to a packed house at B.B. Kings for a discussion on how, with uniquely positioned content and unconventional platforms, you can use the power of music to break through the music marketing clutter.

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PR at the Speed of Light

Last night, I had the privilege of accepting the Alexander Hamilton Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the Institute for Public Relations. I was honored to have my friends, family and esteemed colleagues join me at the Yale Club for the event.

I’m told that Alexander Hamilton, the award’s namesake, once said, “Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” I certainly hope that speaks to the integrity with which I’ve conducted myself throughout my career. I was asked to share a few thoughts during the event and wanted to publish my remarks on our blog as a way to share my views and connect with a larger community about the future of our dynamic industry.

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Our Brains at Work… Literally

As an organizational psychologist at a communications firm, I often keep up with human capital trends by stepping outside the walls of Ketchum and learning from my peers at industry events and conferences. I recently attended the annual Organization Development Network Conference in Philadelphia, and a recurring theme among the many thought-provoking speakers was neuroscience in the workplace. Two trends in particular stood out to me as especially noteworthy for their potential impact on the way we approach our work.

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The Shifting Focus of Energy Issues

The Republican wave of the 2014 midterm elections confirmed that the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline, which has dogged the administration since before the 2012 election, is THE defining energy debate of the Obama presidency and useful shorthand for the debates to come.

In short, Keystone demonstrates the tension between national political will to act (or not) on energy “issues” and the reality that any solution to an energy “issue” entails local public support of a physical energy “project.”

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A New Age in Marketing

Several days before attending the gender-equality-in-marketing 3% Conference, an influential 50-year colleague said something to me over lunch that still rankles. “You know, Karen, agencies are not for the old,” she offered as an explanation for why I was wrestling with one particular business challenge. Her words stung because I had actually thought I was doing a pretty good job keeping up with trends and staying relevant, while very conscious of how much marketers today venerate youth.

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Metaphor Update: Client Directors As DJs?

Communicators are fond of metaphors, especially musical metaphors that appeal to our artistic and cultural aspirations.

And for PR people of a certain age (those who have actually used a fax machine, for example), the musical metaphor of choice for multitasking client directors has been the orchestra conductor.

Elegant, masterful and in supreme control of 100 instruments, this is an image we (some of us, at least) have come to rely upon to describe the expertise and composure required of those leading client engagements.

But is it a relevant analogy for those actually running the show?

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Blurred Lines: 4 Insights on the Evolution of PR & Advertising

My first “real” job was at an advertising agency. It was a crash course in big personalities and the value of insight-driven campaign planning. We were small enough of a shop that I got to regularly work closely with the creative teams on campaign development. My degree also happens to be in advertising and promotion, so when I was recently asked to speak on an AdWeek panel discussing “The Fine Line between PR, Marketing, and Advertising,” I was excited to share my views.

Joining me on the panel were three other D.C.-based executives from big PR agencies, so I expected our opinions to be pretty aligned; they were not. What we ended up with was a lively discussion that reflected how truly undecided people are on this subject. While the variances in our opinions hopefully kept the audience engaged, it also solidified my thoughts on this “line” between PR and advertising and how our industry is rapidly changing in four major ways…

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Top 7 Myths in Public Relations

As Seen In PRNews…

Public relations can be a simple industry for many who choose to consider it as such: You get a client, call the media, tell their story, go home. At least, that’s the going thought out there.

For those of us who do this every day, we know that’s not the case. The world of PR is a multifaceted and complex industry, one that involves training, research and consistent practice. It is part Web understanding, part writing well and a whole bunch of trial-and-error. However, there are also many myths out there about what PR professionals do not do.

Many of these myths are perpetuated by misunderstanding of the industry. Admittedly, some of the myths are brought on by a gaggle of people working in agencies that are not doing the rest of us any favors. Let’s hope we can help everyone by a little demystification with seven myths about public relations.

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