Robert Phillips, a former Edelman U.K. executive, has just published a book titled, “Trust Me, PR is Dead.”
I read a review of the book in O’Dwyers and must paraphrase Shakespeare by saying, “Methinks Phillips doth protest too much.”
As proof of his half-cocked logic, Phillips says PR is “undergoing disruption at the hands of the web and is seemingly unaware of its own death throes.”
If Phillips is speaking only of media-by-the-pound sweat shops, then I’d completely agree.
But, he’s delusional if he thinks the smartest and swiftest PR firms haven’t anticipated the web’s disruption and quickly adapted to provide a fully integrated, channel neutral mix of earned, owned and paid media.
Phillips further opines that, “PR survives only on the fringes of marketing communications.” To which I respond, balderdash.
PR, in fact, is thriving as the lead strategist in devising and implementing many clients’ fully integrated campaigns. And, it’s happening because PR is rightly perceived as being the best discipline when it comes to storytelling. We’ve been using storytelling techniques from day one to convince journalists our clients’ news and information would be of great interest to their readers, viewers and listeners.
We’re also rapidly replacing ad agencies and digital firms because the smartest and swiftest PR agencies have added our own strategic planning, creative, direct marketing and digital capabilities at a rapid pace.
Also, when it comes to good, old media relations, trust me, clients still crave it as a key component of any fully integrated campaign that engages audiences at each, and every touch point.
And, unless Phillips has relocated to a far distant solar system, a balanced, front page story in The Wall Street Journal or New York Times remains worth its weight in gold.
To paraphrase Mark Twain who, upon reading his obituary in a newspaper, wrote to said paper, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” The same holds true for this book.
I couldn’t agree more. After having done PR for many disruptive companies, I feel confident in saying that you could never automate many of the most valuable PR functions, such as the ability to link your client with a story opportunity as well as build and maintain the personal relationships that help drive media coverage.