In the second blog of a three-part series, Shimon discusses the state of PR in 2019 and what has changed over the last 15 years.
DREW: How is PR changing and how are we creating new opportunities to share our clients’ stories?
SHIMON: If I’m truthful in answering this question, a lot of our colleagues here at The PR Office would be very upset because I would argue that actually it’s not changing very much. They will all say ‘you can’t say that, because if you say that they’ll think that you’re old-fashioned!’ The reality is that it is not changing. It’s not changing because what we do is relate to the public. How we relate to the public is different. We used to have a town crier who would stand in the middle of the square, ring a bell and shout out the news. Now, we have TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, social media – it’s all media.
If anyone tells you that certain aspects of the media are old fashioned or no longer in use, this just isn’t the case because I can tell you that when television was invented everyone thought that radio was going to be history. Radio is not history at all, radio has adapted. I certainly remember in the late 1990s everyone telling me newspapers and magazines were history, it was all about online. Ultimately, you must deliver news and messages in a way that people want to receive them, not necessarily in a way that you might want to tell them. That is the key to all of this. I don’t think it changes in that people still want to get their messages out and influence their target audiences.
DREW: How can PR be used as a force for good in society and positive social change?
SHIMON: The concept of PR as a force for good or not, is not really valid. What is valid is the way in which you get your message across using communications tools. If your message is good, then PR becomes a force for good across all sectors.
There is plenty of evidence that PR can be a force for good in society and a force to develop positive social change if it’s a positive message. The fact is that PR is about relating to your public. You want to be a force for good and get that message across; the opportunity is there.
For example, over the years, charitable organisations, voluntary organisation, good organisations have recognised that there was now an opportunity to meld with business. With this, PR effectively became the glue because voluntary organisations and business were doing things together as part of their social responsibility and PR was the opportunity to talk about it. The reality is talking about it, you can do for two reasons: you can do it because you want to feel good, which is absolutely fine. But you can also use talking about it to generate more people to do good. We have done that at The PR Office a number of times, currently with Change Grow Live and AFDPG – both bringing positive social change.
The same goes for non-charity work because, if your message is a good message then PR becomes the vehicle that you use to promote that message.
In the final blog of this series, Shimon will look to the future and discuss what is next for PRO and the industry as a whole.