Samantha Losey
Jun 29, 2022

Why PR needs a serious rebranding exercise focused on metrics and measurement

There is a rampant identity crisis running riot in our industry at the moment, and not only are we letting it happen, we are complicit, argues the managing director at Unity.

Why PR needs a serious rebranding exercise focused on metrics and measurement

Clients have never been more confused and we have never been less transparent, less nimble and more in danger of extinction than we are right now.

It’s ironic, because this moment really should be ours for the taking – as we watch brands cut budgets and media spend in anticipation of and reaction to the tumultuous global landscape that afflicts us all, the last thing to go should be reputation management and PR. But what even is PR anymore, and can we ever get past the ghosts of old that follow us around with ’90s abandon waving a Rolodex and trying to seem relevant?

It was a recent set of conversations with some seriously heavy-hitting CMOs that made me think about this problem a little more deeply. Time and again I was hearing the same thing: we don’t know where to bucket PR anymore and we don’t trust the value it delivers.

An interesting word springs to mind immediately: metrics – but I’ll come back to that one.

The buckets that brands and intermediaries seem to divide things into now, particularly briefs, are roughly: creative, digital and experience. A lot of you will be thinking, we do all three (as would I), but it turns out that isn’t the point; in fact, it’s part of the problem. If you aren’t a digital agency, an ad agency or an experiential agency, where do they put you?

Two major issues have created this identity crisis: metrics and measurement, and reputation and value/delivery. The first is a hard one, but when looked at critically those three buckets all have very clear lines of measurement, whereas we often sit in this amorphous grey area. It is the grey area that is running us out of town. Agencies are still willing to itemise cutting volume or ad value, or media tier, but none of this is tangible. We should all be thinking NPS, brand-tracking, commercial return/direct sales and much more.

Then there’s our reputation, in many ways a much bigger challenge. Who among us hasn’t met a prospective client that has been badly burned by a PR agency promising the world and delivering nothing? I would say it’s the rule, not the exception.

Our image is damaged; the sins of our fathers – when the world was vastly different and lunch took four hours – are a mantle we seem unable to escape, regardless of the language we use to describe ourselves.

PR needs a serious rebrand and we deserve one. We do good and important work for brands and access audiences in ways no other discipline can, but, much like our esteemed leaders, if we don’t deal with our reputation head-on and problem-solve as we do it, we are asking someone else to take our lunch – and they are.


Samantha Losey is managing director at Unity

Source:
PRWeek

Related Articles

Just Published

27 minutes ago

ID++: Is Amazon planning its own post-cookie solution?

A swiftly deleted job listing for a project called ‘ID++’ has sparked rumours that the online retail giant is developing its own alternative to Google’s cookies for advertisers.

5 hours ago

Publicis employee who lost her parents to opioids ...

Emily Deschamps shares her personal story with Campaign US to highlight the dangers of marketing in sensitive categories in hopes of inspiring change.

5 hours ago

Debunking TikTok’s ‘mystery virus’ trend spreading ...

TikTokers describe symptoms like sore throat and cough — but claim they’re testing negative for flu, Covid and RSV. Experts say speculation about a 'mystery virus' could be misleading.

5 hours ago

Want to reach women? Put your brand safety fears aside

To reach female consumers, marketers must take a hard look at what content they deem unsafe and what keywords, topics or products they avoid.