PR industry must rise above cynics

Alan Mitchell’s analysis of the impact the increasing cynicism of consumers is having on marketing covered a number of interesting changes marketers are having to make to achieve cut through (MW May 13). However, although it mentioned the blurring of the lines between editorial and advertising, it didn’t cover the opportunities, and threats, this cynicism presents to the PR industry.

PR, by its very nature, is unobtrusive. Consumers choose the media they consume, and choose the specific articles or programmes they read or watch. However, this is not to say that the world of PR has not been affected by the sharp increase in the volume of marketing communications.

A recent survey of journalists conducted by our technology partner, Glide Technologies, showed that press release volumes, according to many journalists, have either doubled or tripled over the past year. The same survey showed that 86 per cent of journalists don’t think that the press releases they receive are relevant.

In other words, communicating with journalists as an audience is suffering the same affliction as communicating with consumers – press releases are no longer effective for the very audience they are intended.

If PR professionals are to grasp the opportunities presented by the increasing cynicism of consumers, they must rethink their approach to communicating with journalists. The smart ones have ditched the press release and are using technology to deliver personalised information whose impact can be measured in real time. The rest might be keeping their clients happy in the short term, but it is journalists who will have the last say.

David Hargreaves

Managing partner

Credo Communications

London W1E-mail address for letters: Please include your home or business address

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