Hotwire Blog

06 March, 2007

Never fear - PR is on a roll

Every quarter, “news aktuell”, a major German newswire service, conducts a survey among in-house and agency PR professionals in Germany. The “PR-Trendmonitor” tracks their views on the latest trends and developments in communications. This quarter’s PR-Trendmonitor highlights three challenges that PR pros are facing today.

1. Increasing pressure on budgets. (27.8 per cent of responses)
2. Web 2.0 and its implications for PR (17.5 per cent)
3. Measuring the success of PR (11.4 per cent)

Let’s take a look at budget pressures first. In our experience at Hotwire, the recent uplift in the technology industry has contributed to a drop in budget pressures. While this may not be true in other sectors, technology companies have learnt their lesson from the bursting of the New Economy bubble: brand building is not about spending millions on advertising campaigns, it’s about building a reputation with ever more fragmented audiences. There’s a job for Public Relations! While overall communications budgets may be shrinking, PR for technology is on a roll.

Quite possibly, our relatively comfortable position in terms of budget pressures has to do with our approach to challenge number three: measurement of PR success. Since day one, we’ve been doing virtually everything with measurability in mind. While the academic discussion about measuring PR success seems to go in circles around fairly abstract approaches, such as “communication scorecards”, we’re taking a pragmatic stance and deliver results that make a difference to our client’s bottom-line.

Web 2.0 and what comes with it for PR is definitely exciting as new technologies contribute to a shift in media usage. While newspapers, TV and radio programmes are consumed in a linear way (the media makers defining content and the sequence of presentation), Web 2.0 technologies (RSS news aggregators, social book-marking, video-on-demand, etc.) will ultimately lead to non-linear patterns of consumption. The reader/viewer/listener will start re-mixing content independently of the medium and time constraints to fit his/her individual way of life and daily routine.

While this is a massive threat to classic advertising on television and in print, it’s a fantastic opportunity for PR. If PR today is about good arguments and good content presented to the right audience through the best-fitting channels, ‘PR 2.0’ will be about making that good content re-mixable. The odds are that PR will loose control over the channel and context of presentation. But one new economy vision is now closer to becoming reality than ever: “content is king”. And PR will lead the coronation ceremony.


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08 March, 2007  

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