10 February 2012
This week Octopus, in conjunction with our pals at PR
Week and Marketing, held its Future5 Live Event to showcase the
type of campaigns we think are starting to signpost the future of
the PR industry.
It was a cracking bash with the PR industry seemingly in fine
fettle. Fifty communicators from all sectors coming together to
have a look into the future and hear from some of their peers who
have conceived and executed cutting edge campaigns over the last
There was much positive debate, discussion both in the Q&A
and over coffee afterwards. Here's a quick summary:
1. The campaign of the future will be
So to be a Future5 award winner in the future, campaigns will
need to use all, not just some, of the trends - research and
planning, brand partnerships, audience participation, use of
technology, and of course what we've termed, the BIG Idea. And
maybe even more that will evolve in the future.
But to deliver those campaigns there needs to be a new skill set
for agencies and in-house teams. Not just the core skills of media
relations but content development, video, design, production, app
development, influencer relations, direct communications, even
traditional advertising. The list goes on. PR is doing lots of
stuff it's never done before.
Of course you can get all of these different skill sets from
individual agencies, but we're convinced that the more forward
thinking ones (ahem, like us J) should be able to offer all of
these services under one roof.
Any PR agency, or in house team, failing to innovate at the
moment won't be here in a few years.
2. Managing risk versus trying new stuff
PR people are good in a crisis. We've long been the guardians of
corporate reputation and let's face it, doing new things can be
risky. So how do you minimise risk but maximise campaigns and new
approaches? Well Future5 shows it's through research and planning,
something that PR agencies have been slow to embrace.
Unless campaigns start with an insight into the audience -
spotting gaps and new channels - we think they are at best
ineffective, at worst risky to the brand. And lots of the Future5
winners demonstrated this.
3. Outcomes not outputs
One trend we've seen over the last couple of years with Future5
is the need to drive audience participation and action. This has
been brought about by the growth in social media channels, like
Facebook and Twitter, where encouraging 'likes' or 'follows' is
easy and demonstrable. But increasingly PR is being asked to
predict and goal ourselves on direct action not coverage.
This can be a problem for those who don't have the integrated
mindset or the ability to benchmark. Without this foresight and
confidence, you can't build more direct metrics around direct
outcomes - sales leads, registration or online feedback - which
undoubtedly is the way we're heading.
4. PR relationship with the business and who
One comment made was that it seemed less about whether PR and
marketing owned the campaign, and more about what tactics made it a
success. An encouraging sign. But often, in reality there are still
barriers. There is still the perception from many in marketing and
beyond that PR is butting in on a conversation if it requires
anything beyond the press release.
So what's the opportunity? The opportunity for PR is in coming
up with campaigns, not just story ideas, and to go and find money
from other parts of the business to bring these to life. Thinking
bigger and more long term. Because in reality, the overstretched PR
budget alone cannot do everything.
So, what was the message from the floor? Coming out loud and
clear was think bigger and PR practitioners can all be rewarded
with the opportunity to do more and evolve their roles. Develop
well-planned ideas, integrated approaches and a focus on outcomes
from your campaigns and your agency partners. And try and push
outside of our comfort zones occasionally and not be scared of
failing sometimes. Which is after all, the very essence of what
Future5 is all about!
You can learn all about Future5 from our website pages or why not read all about
the campaigns in
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