Provoking The PR Industry

Posted: December 12, 2016

Keri-Ann is the Managing Partner of Engage Joe Public, the public relations offering to Joe Public United. She represented not only the communications agency group but also the local industry as she was welcomed onto the stage at the 5th annual Holmes Report’s Global Public Relations Summit in Miami.

Situational fluency, Western reductionism and brandwashing were just some of the new buzzwords at #Provoke16, a three day summit featuring over 100 speakers and 400 delegates focusing on independent agencies (day 1) and global agencies (day 2 & 3).

The speakers and panel discussions were rich with C-suite level insights, challenges and opportunities and at the core of it all: creativity! Creativity when it comes to data, when it comes to political campaigns and even when it comes to AI (artificial intelligence) – VR is so yesterday.

The summit topics were aimed to provoke: how we are behind, ahead and in in a crisis. From a South African point of view it was reassuring to note we are ahead with regard to being purpose driven, the use of influencer campaigns, strategic creative content, integration and finally plain and simple gut instinct. And then a little in awe of how global is tracking ahead of us when it comes to AI, data influencers, generating revenue from content, developing and driving their own measurability standards and a truly global mindset when creating campaigns (so many of us still create local campaigns).

Speeding up

The speed of innovation is breathtaking: from the impact of AI on the PR industry to agencies who are simply following an acquisition strategy as opposed to a hire/reskill one. “The blurring of disciplines for PR agencies means an ‘arms race’ – who is learning quicker?” tweeted Mojo PR.

Creative content is a no-brainer. What was fascinating is the rise of specialist content development teams for crisis management, such is the case for insurance giants like AIG who are changing campaigns both in realtime and in-house. They had great insights about tapping into a new class of “data influencers” to communicate and amplify their messages (all the while being cognisant of a population that has low levels of literacy – never mind data literacy).

See it here:

Slowing down

Chris Lewis was another favourite – someone who riled up the global agencies with his truths and challenges about independents in a growing competitive environment.

“PR people are there as a radar system to spot opportunities and threats. You have to listen and knowwhat’s going on, not just read the headlines.

“PR people are the only people who talk to clients every day of the week and twice on Sundays.”

And on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), “There’s no point in being creative if no one can find the stories you’ve created.”

And finally driving home the point that no one can get creative when they’re exhausted, a premise fleshed out in his new book – Too Fast To Think.

And so, speed up or slow down – choose whatever suits your mojo over the festive season. We are excited about our dynamic, evolving industry and are ready to continue building brand belief with our clients in 2017.