Reinventing sliced bread

The brave new world of Source Marketing began on Friday 6th April 2001. Back then, Mark Zuckerberg was still at school. Posting out press releases was still a thing you had to do (mostly on hungover mornings or Friday afternoons). And if anyone should have used the phrase social media within your earshot, you’d have snorted at them in derision for trying to make watching the football on telly at the pub sound posh.

Fast-forward 15-years and technology has run riot; ruling over virtually every single roost (who on earth would ever have predicted e-cigarettes in the early noughties?). The way that media is accessed and consumed has altered beyond all recognition. And the job of the PR? Well these days you need to be a master of more trades than you ever thought possible.

One thing has though remained constant. Communication is still the central tenet of everything we do – no matter the client, the audience or the target media; or whether we claim to be social media, digital, B2B or B2C specialists. If you work in PR you are a communication professional; a fact that does sometimes feel like it’s being cast aside in the rush to bathe in the bright lights of social media. And shocking as it may be to say, social media isn’t for everyone. The UK still has an incredibly strong trade media. And while the majority of good trade mags have stepped into the digital era with excellent websites and digital versions, their presence on the different social platforms is still low-key. The reason? It’s not how their readers want to be communicated with. Similarly, the PR holy grail for so many these days is for a tweet or a post to go viral. But let’s be honest, pinning your hopes on that sort of strategy is as risky as putting all your budget into a PR stunt. Yes, it’s great if it works, but in most cases you will end up with nothing but egg on your face and ketchup down your shirt.

As PR professionals our role is to provide communication advice as well as do the communicating. And it’s as important now as it was back in 2001 to remember that strategy is king – nail the strategy and you know who you need to target, with what and how. Sliced bread it seems doesn’t need reinventing after all – you just have a far greater choice of sandwich fillings.

Written by Daniel Kennedy, 18/11/2016