One of the great aspects of doing PR from the agency side is that we are given a window into many different organizations. What’s interesting is that despite the many differences among the clients we serve in financial services, so often the needs and solutions are uncannily similar.
Take for example the counsel and programs we provided to three clients who couldn’t be more different: a global index provider, a mid-size asset management firm and a boutique economic research firm. Each was seeking to raise their visibility – that’s generally a given in our space. But while each had past history of success with media, there were new challenges to address. Each needed to:
- Connect with the “next generation” of journalists and reconnect with past relationships
- Establish a presence in new channels, especially social media
- Find ways for PR to add value across the enterprise to have a tangible impact on business development
Traditional PR programs are limited in their ability to address these and other related challenges that are prevalent today. To be successful, firms like these need partners who see the broad strategic opportunities, who understand what resonates with the target audiences and who ultimately have the comprehensive, modern skill set to reach them.
In the case of these three clients, while the content and audiences differed, the philosophy behind their successful programs was the same. Each required a program that:
- Began with strong, thoughtful and engaging content
- Established a disciplined, consistent process to ensure a continuous flow of this content
- Incorporated a broader set of tactics that included a social media strategy to reach reporters, collaboration with the marketing team and freshened language to better articulate these firms value propositions
Essentially, programs have to be built around target audiences with greater precision and focus than ever before. Also, organizations need to continuously adapt their content to suit the communication preferences of the audiences they are trying to reach. Said another way, given how easily audiences can filter your message out, it’s vital that we develop compelling content and continuously adapt that content for different forms of distribution and engagement – to ensure we find ways to touch the target audiences.
That’s easier said than done. We believe the best content is conceived by people who not only have consummate command of the subject matter, but who also understand all the different forms of distribution (or engagement).
Of course, building integrated plans can become terribly unwieldy, and even the most committed, well-meaning professionals can see their planning efforts derailed by the sheer enormity of the task: difficulties setting goals and remaining aligned with business strategies, information overloads, collaboration challenges or time constraints.
That’s why we have created and honed a disciplined process for producing effective programs. It begins with a thorough review of the business strategy and research and then builds on this foundation in successive steps. This allows us to break the process into clear, manageable tasks and move methodically towards the desired outcome: a comprehensive, integrated plan.
An agency with experience across both disciplines can add significant value to other parts of a business. Even if the assignment is focused on one area, say PR and not marketing, a disciplined process that considers all audiences and communication channels can drive the creation of more effective programs.