Creative PR: Information with Personality


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I caught up with a fellow PR flack late last week — his speciality is politics; mine is corporate. “Jeez,” he told me with a perceptible shiver, “I’d do corporate PR if I absolutely had to.” Thanks buddy, I thought, nice to know the professional high ground is being held by the folks who coined the term “spin room.”

Joking aside, my friend there actually works in the service of some sterling political causes, but his attitude toward corporate PR was a mix of understandable aversion and outdated thinking. What put him off, clearly, was the memory of double-speak — of meaningless press releases, news-free press conferences, and the habit of posturing grandly in the absence of anything interesting or meaningful to say. Some corporate PR is certainly guilty as charged. But that isn’t the market I work in.

Bad old PR for faceless organizations earned its lousy rep in many cases and haunts the industry still, as too many behemoths continue to design communications plans around the removal of personality — as if “professionalism” were defined by a lack of character. But why should the public face of a company be featureless? Last time I checked, the competitive marketplace had everything to do with defining characteristics. The faceless monolith has a more Soviet flavor, and if you recall, the bloc mentality wasn’t exactly a rousing creative and economic success.

Nasty economic times and a surge in communicative ability call for a sharpening of appealing distinctions — not an absence of them. And to my mind, that’s a raging demand for information that moves people tied to real personalities they can like. That’s why brilliant infographics can be so helpful; it’s why low-budget videos can be so compelling. We want to understand, and we have to believe we can trust.

To wit, you could collect all the Twitter followers, readers, and fans in the world, and you could still blow your business by being a drone.

Corporate PR — for companies who want to succeed — is about finding your voice, spying eye-catching, maybe even world-changing facts and stories, and telling them in a way that makes you not only indispensable, but trustworthy. And, superheroes aside, would you trust a man in a mask?

I don’t; that’s probably why I can’t stand the old stereotype of the corporate “communicator” whose function is to talk the inquisitive and the probing into sleep or submission. Creative PR people are facilitators and imaginers — not suits and stonewallers. We loathe “meeting hell,” love end runs around bureaucracy, and jump at new ways to say something fascinating. Corporate PR that opposes those values is indeed well worth avoiding — but in my humble opinion, it’s already on its way out.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Schackai
Kate combines a technical understanding of web 2.0 with classic PR savvy, resulting in online communications that both humans and Google love. She joins Crawford from WordPress development firm TCWebsite, where she worked in online marketing and search engine optimization.


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