Monday 9 December 2013

Turning the PR industry on its head at long last

Lord Leverhulme famously said this about advertising: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, and the problem is I do not know which half".

If that was true of advertising, then how much more true of it in public relations. You would be lucky just to waste half your money, certainly if you add up the retainer, the vast amount of wasted stuff pushed into envelopes, the sheer irritation of PR as conventionally delivered.

I speak as someone who has been too often on the wrong end of PR. I remember, in the days when I was editor of Town & Country Planning in the late 1980s, I came to learn which envelopes should go straight in the bin. Among them were the wads of press releases published by the British Standards Institution, and delivered to me and thousands of others, at vast expense.

All of this mild rant is a way of explaining why I was excited to see a new model emerge, and I need a bit of transparency here - the co-founder, Kate Vick, is a friend. But I think she and her business partner Alie Griffiths have hit on a big idea when they launched One Day a Month.

PR is so much more complicated than it was when I used to open envelopes and get press releases. Who in their right mind uses press releases these days, except as a way of controlling what their spokespeople say? Social media opens the whole thing up.

The reason I was interested in this is that it is a potential game-changer in the PR industry, opening it up far more widely - and to people who would never accept, and can't afford, the usual way of doing things.

And it doesn't rely on IT. This is a new model the old-fashioned way: a new conception of how business can be organised. It can work...

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