by Baldwin Berges -

We are having an intense discussion on our LinkedIn group about the role of PR firms.

Now that the media landscape is fragmenting, PR firms are up for a challenge to stay ahead of the game. Today I am sharing a few quotes from our ongoing discussion about the relevance of PR firms. So far, this exchange has been quite educational. To see the whole discussion, apply for free membership to the group.

The discussions on our LinkedIn group are quite intense. It is a tribe of like-minded people who are eager to share knowledge and insights with each other in order to become 'business development ninjas'. The group is in full expansion mode. Everyday we have new members that come in to share views and insights. If you are involved in Business Development, this group may be something for you as well.


"PR firms: What do they do and when should you hire one? "


"..I always thought that PR firms were useful for large companies, but not sure of the value they bring to fund management (particularly in hedge fund world). What kind of impact would you expect to have and does it make sense allocating money to PR as opposed to something that has more of a direct impact?"

"...PR is publicity and publicity is better than advertising. I guess what they mean is that publicity is about earning attention and advertising is about buying attention..."

"...Not too long ago media was either dominated by the large groups or the local players. Press release inboxes were piling up and journalist attention was hard to get. PR people acted like gatekeepers to the reporters because they had good relationships..."

"...Now the media is fragmented into blogs, specialist sites, real time info on twitter, etc Journalists can search for keywords and find fresh real-time news. Every company or organization can now broadcast by themselves, they have followers and can get more if they have a compelling message..."

"...'PR is telling and not selling' Yes, I think this is great definition for PR..."

"...A good in-house PR professional is like a pulse of communications. Therefore, can instantly create a global channel of communication to convey a message. They have a mindset of contingency planning..."

"...The problem is that model is breaking down. The trend in how people actually learn about companies is less driven by press releases and media channels and increasingly driven by personal recommendations by people in your social networks..."

"...PR people don't know your business like you do. They aren't experts in your field like you are. They aren't a part of the business community you are a part of.  They don't identify prospects and leads because they don't have the data or strategic sales insight to do so - because they lack the industry focus you have, unless they actually work for your company..."

"...In the ideal world you would like to see a control room in every company ready to engage with trends in real time. Will the PR dept of the future will be something like a corporate CIA headquarters?.."

".. a business doesn't need to be a huge corporate to hire a PR agency; it boils down to the communications objectives that each business has. What one also has to understand is that PR doesn't sit on an island on its own. It supports your whole company's Integrated Communications strategy. In other words PR does what your advertising, promotions, sales, CSR, eventing and brand activations can't do - tells your brand's story to mass media at less cost than your above-the-line advertising campaigns..."

"..a smaller company that doesn't have a huge advertising budget can employ PR tactics that can bring in more value than just plain advertising. With a PR, you tell your story and allow those you have serviced to tell their own stories through case studies. Any audience in the world is likely to believe a mother next door, for example when she talks about how good a product is compared to an advert..."

"...Having an internal PR department works well. However, in certain circumstances, one needs an external party to come in with a clear head... coming in from the outside, I help that client keep the technical terms in house but when we speak in the media, we use a language that your target audience will understand in seconds - they don't need a light-bulb moment to finally hear what your organization is saying..."

"..What companies also need to do before just going the PR route is consider if they even have a message that can result in a big idea that can exist in the PR space with measurable results that are inline with their overarching strategy. If not, it won't work..."

...and it just goes on like this.

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