Last year (2022) we attended over 100 networking events. It was one of our goals to increase the number of community members we interacted with, within our (Toronto GTA - Brantford) region. During that time I used 1 tactic to always get the conversation started, to find out as much as possible about the other person before introducing myself. I originally picked up this tactic at a Mohawk College Alumni event while discussing the art of conversation. The benefit being when you ask about someone’s business/project, the normal response is to ask you the same question. Asking them first shows them your genuine interest in what they’re all about!
What did this networking tactic achieve?
It allowed me to learn about my community. It also gave me a primary look at what professionals are talking about, going through and worried about coming out of the pandemic.
So I’ve narrowed it down to the top 3 PR questions of 2022!
The top 3 PR questions of the year were:
How has the pandemic changed the communication industry?
Advertising vs public relations misconception
What is public relations?
How has the pandemic impacted the industry?
The pandemic was a learning experience for the majority of industries. If PR agencies were able to pivot their services, offer solutions ahead of the changing times throughout the pandemic, reassured their clients and created consistent communication channels, they remained successful. I think one of the challenges was trying to predict the short-term future restrictions and prepare for them with correct (ever-changing) messaging, especially in the hospitality/food industry.
We saw that things like Zoom became an integral part of the majority of communications strategies throughout the pandemic (Yes Zoom fatigue was a real thing… we’re still recovering). Companies relied on communicating with all stakeholders partners, employees, and clients online and eventually in very small groups. In hindsight, I am glad we got through the thick of it and I am looking forward to an innovative future.
Advertising vs PR misconception?
It is difficult for many professionals to determine the difference between public relations and advertising unless they’ve worked with either agency/firm, I've heard my share of misconceptions throughout the year. Let's focus on the top three differences between the two.
Here's a review of the basic definition of both just for the record,
as per the Ad Council of Canada advertising is defined as,
Any message, the content of which message is controlled directly or indirectly by the advertiser expressed in any language and communicated in any medium to Canadians with the intent to influence their choice, opinion or behaviour.
as defined by the Canadian Public Relations Society the definition of public relations as,
Public relations is the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its diverse publics, through the use of communication, to achieve mutual understanding, realize organizational goals and serve the public interest.
Public relations tactics hold more credibility mainly because your placement is not guaranteed. When the media prints about your cause it’s because they chose to, not because they have to. As a result, the reporter will most always fact-check the story to provide the public with the most current/accurate information. People know that and trust that information a little more. The media will not change the language of your paid advertisement, you pay to have full say. Consumers also know that a company is going to craft the most positive message about its brand, so fact-checking becomes more of the responsibility of the consumer. A paid advertisement is guaranteed because the company has paid for their space/position as an advertisement.
Differences in Audience
Let's cover the fact that public relations cover communication strategies between an organization and all of its stakeholders. Stakeholders mean, partners, board of directors, investors, employees and of course the end consumer. Advertising aims at providing one-way communication to the final user to encourage them to take action.
Goals & Objectives
One of the most important distinctions is the difference in objectives, and how you measure your campaign. A PR objective will focus on building awareness, brand reputation and creating and maintaining relationships with stakeholders. Advertising is usually more forced on promoting a product, service or event vs. reputation management.
What is Public Relations?
We’ve already gone over the definition of PR, but here it is again….Public relations is the strategic management of relationships between an organization and its diverse publics, through the use of communication, to achieve mutual understanding, realize organizational goals and serve the public interest.
However, let’s unpack that a bit…
Public relations advisors are the liaisons between the company and all of its stakeholders. A PR practitioner's main goal will be to communicate your message to the right people, as accurately as possible. In other words, we are here to tell your story, to the right people.
Internal PR vs External PR
There are so many different types of areas of the PR industry. However, there are 2 separate categories that are rarely defined, internal and external public relations. Internal PR deals with communication strategies within an organization. For example, communication between employees and management, investor relations, communication between management levels etc. External PR is communicating to stakeholders outside of the organization ie. media, the general public, and potential investors.
Other PR areas…
Online and Social Media Communication
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