Muck Rack recently surveyed over 800 PR professionals, ranging from coordinators at boutique agencies to Chief Communications Officers at major global brands, to take a pulse on the state of PR in 2019. Among its questions, the survey looked at how communicators are spending their time, their money, and what software they use. Muck Rack will drill deeper into these results at PR News Google Bootcamp for Communicators, taking place on July 17th at the Yale Club in NYC. Looking at these survey findings, it’s easy to see why a base level of tech literacy is not only helpful, but necessary for PR pros— the results remind us that measuring success remains the number one challenge for our profession.
Stories by Justin Joffe
The communications team at University of Maryland College Park must know that its past year has been bereft with poor decision-making. Last fall, the school made headlines for its poor handling of a crisis after student and athlete Jordan McNair was found dead following a rigorous football practice. Now the beleaguered school finds another crisis on its hands, once again exacerbated by poor communications and a defensive strategy that horribly backfired.
We are in an age when many artists and creators complain of their narrative intentions being twisted in the interest of pandering to algorithms, demographics, or stilted rollout strategies around marketing their new release. Still, one of the foundational services offered by full-service PR firms includes an client bio and one-sheet for the new release or product. How does our profession make peace with this disconnect?
Communicators often understand journalists more than they care to admit, and many are even recovering journalists themselves. Nonetheless, when it comes to being interview-ready, PR pros sometimes shy away from being confident spokespeople. Moreover, when it comes to prepping their clients for that big primetime on-camera interview, many communicators must outsource their media training to an expert. We caught up with one of the best.
This past Mother’s Day, The New York Times ran an opinion piece featuring several female athletes who are sponsored by Nike, focusing on the fact that Nike did not provide these athletes with paid maternity leave. The scandal reminds us that brand communicators should close the gap between what’s promoted and what’s practiced, and partner with legal teams to make sure that contractual language is consistent with brand values.
Social marketers often know what tools and resources are worth spending money on, but advocating for that budget, and working with the C-suite to allocate said budget, proves the greater challenge. We spoke with Rajesh Kari, Vice President and Business Leader at Infovision Social, about this exact matter ahead of his appearance at next week’s Social Shake-Up Show in Atlanta.
Marvel is far more than a brand of comics and films. It’s also a marketing juggernaut. Thing is, Marvel understands the “less is more” approach with its audience. Since it has identified distinct and overlapping segments for each film release, Marvel leaves breadcrumbs of suggestion, which are enough for hardcore fans to pick up the slack. This creates FOMO by withholding information and letting the earned media hype train build momentum with what is ostensibly service journalism.
Kanye West played an opportunistic set at Coachella 2019’s second weekend, held on Easter morning and branded #SundayService. Seeking to repair the problematic year he’s had alienating his audience, Ye’s set was largely received as rushed, opportunistic and appropriative. The overpriced merch didn’t help either. That said, communicators can learn from Kanye’s disastrous #SundayService, particularly about when branding is inappropriate and how poor visual storytelling can drastically hurt a brand’s reputation.
PR pros often focus on the “fun” side of social: the stories, images and conversations that bring a brand to life. Unfortunately, darker forces also exist. Brands face a number of adversaries; from account hacks to bot attacks. Sometimes, brands are their own worst enemy, violating federal regulations that a communicator may not have even been aware of.
The New York Times published a story Saturday detailing how Google shares its location-tracking database with police to identify potential suspects whose devices were within the vicinity of a crime. The police then use this information as evidence while building a case, sometimes going after the wrong suspects. Google’s unwillingness to acknowledge its reputation for surveillance offers PR lessons about recognizing negative trends.