PR Fish Bowl

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September 30, 2016

What PR Agencies Can Learn From Advertising Week

prlightbulb1Thousands of public relations, advertising and marketing people gathered this week in and around Times Square for New York’s Advertising Week. They came to hear a wide range of speakers and panel guests share their insight and opinions on the current and future state of the advertising business.

As the lines between PR and advertising have blurred, the discussions during Advertising Week are increasingly relevant to public relations professionals. Here are some of the hottest topics covered by the most in-demand speakers.

Develop content for larger and more diverse audiences. Amy Carney, President of Ad Sales at Sony Pictures, stressed the importance of creating content for the right platforms. And it’s vital to understand the data that drives this consumption. “We can no longer say that we’re developing content for the United States,” she explained. “Instead, we need to create content that will be relevant and resonate with audiences around the world – we have to bring the right content to the right audiences.”

Digital is king. Nigel Morris: CEO, Americans and EMEA at Dentsu Aegis Network, spoke at length about how digital has become the dominant part of the economy. “Everything is now data driven, and everything you touch through digital creates data,” he told the engaged crowd. “The economy is turning into one that has the conditions of perfect competition, where consumers and products have equal power through equal knowledge.”

Content drives engagement. Randy Feer, President of Fox Networks Group, believes that the most important part to an advertising campaign is content. “More than anything else, content is what drives engagement,” Feer said to a packed house during an NFL panel at the historic Town Hall. “It’s up to both brands and media companies to find exciting ways to get consumers excited about ads in the same way they do every year on Super Bowl Sunday.”

Emphasize employee satisfaction. According to Carolyn Everson, VP of Global Marketing Solutions at Facebook, companies – including those in PR – should consider people their most important asset. “Managing work with personal time can be challenging, and companies with happier employees perform better,” she said in a panel about companies prioritizing recharging as a productivity tool. “Keeping employees fulfilled with their personal lives will help them do their jobs better.”

What are the PR ramifications here? We see the same overarching themes resonating in public relations: ever-evolving content needs, customer-driven communication and the undeniable importance of digital media. We particularly recognize the importance of Nigel Morris’ statement that “everything you touch through digital creates data.” PR teams that have become sophisticated in their use of data gleaned from digital work recognize its power for helping shape a company or brand image and drive media interest.

The more attention PR can pay to audiences – and create compelling content for them – the better positioned we are as an industry for the changes that keep coming our way in a digital universe.

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