A matter of perception: PR's time to shine

A matter of perception: PR's time to shine

As the masters of persuasion, PR practitioners know better than anyone how much reputation matters – especially when it comes to their own profession.

This was especially apparent to me when I asked the industry for feedback on our new international event, The Drum PR Awards, which we are launching today.

The first thing I observed was the enthusiasm people held for their business and how excited they were about The Drum launching this event. The most popular question posed to me was: “Why has it taken you guys so long?”

But that was soon followed with a healthy dose of caution. Despite their passion, dedication and love for their industry, some were evidently worried that the perception of PR was stuck in a world of spin doctors, press releases and the odd stunt.

PR has changed beyond all recognition over the years, but some felt that it still wasn’t taken as seriously as other marcomms disciplines. They told stories of PR experts being called in halfway through a campaign and their strategy, analysis and measurement expertise being overlooked for “help with press releases” and menial requests.

Apparently, the reputation of PR has gotten that bad that some companies have replaced the abbreviation with ‘communications’, dropping it completely from their names but keeping it within their website URLs to ensure healthy search visibility. Others spell it out and use the full term ‘Public Relations’ and some have stuck to their guns and used PR with pride.

The more I listened and learned, the more excited I got because I knew there and then that The Drum was going to actively do something about this misconception and give PR its rightful place in the marketing ecosystem. In fact, in many instances, PR is the shining star of the process, driven by research, data and insights. And what separates the good from the great is when practitioners use thorough frameworks and measurement techniques to deliver impactful outcomes. We hope to unearth those examples of such good practice through our awards programme.

And to make that a reality, we have devised a selection of categories that echo the way the industry is moving; we plan to interview event judges and partners about the changing landscape of PR; and we will give global coverage to all our finalists in the competition.

When entrants upload their work, there is now an option to also submit a ‘public version’ omitting any sensitive information. After the awards take place in September, we will be publishing all of the finalists’ work online. So, for the cost of an entry, you could be securing worldwide coverage via one of the biggest marketing and media websites in the world, thedrum.com.

This process has been quite an eye-opener for me, and I can’t thank people enough for their time and support when I was putting it all together. My biggest takeaway from all the conversations is that PR is not a dirty word. ‘The Drum PR Awards’ will use the abbreviated term with pride, and by showcasing exemplary work, we will be working together to give PR the platform it deserves.

The very best of luck to everyone who enters in our inaugural year.

The Drum PR Awards are now open for entry, download your entry pack now and make sure you submit your amazing work before the early bird deadline, Thursday 9 May.

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