In PR, we tend to focus granularly on clients to distinguish them from the crowd – “What is your story? Why is it unique and compelling?” We go into “tunnel vision” mode as we immerse ourselves into their offerings, their market and goals. In the process, however, we often lack a peripheral view which can greatly help them achieve their objectives, losing sight of the critical thinking that can add so much more innovation and value to the services we offer them. Our industry is hardly alone in this regard: While three of five organizations embrace innovation, 72 percent do not feel that they’re out-innovating their competitors, according to research from PwC.
PR is about far more than standard press releases and pitches, of course. By combining a command of those day-to-day “basics” with deeper, longer-term strategic development, we better position ourselves to maximize our clients’ ROI. To elaborate upon the latter, here are three critical thinking-inspired practices to consider for 2018 and beyond:
Broaden Your Perspective
When you laser in on one industry, you deprive yourself of the opportunity to experience and interpret your client’s possible impact throughout all sectors, or even aspects of society. Here at W2 Communications, for example, we may strictly consider tech sector trends, given our clientele. But 2017 research by Russell Reynolds Associates indicates no less than 62 percent of all executives – not just those in IT – anticipate digital disruption within the next 12 months. Developments in these industries (in addition to general, cultural shifts) can enrich your perspective on technology. In taking a step back from a high-tech client’s most immediate realm of activity, I’m likelier to arrive at a “eureka” moment, when I create more original and intriguing press pitches, as well as informed questions that are worthy of reporters’ attention. In addition, a broader perspective allows you to draw outside traditional lines of strategy and leverage different landscapes to tell a story, while still remaining relevant to your tech clients’ messaging campaign goals.
Strategically Say “No”
There are times when you have to give your clients pushback. They may, for instance, go on information overload mode because they want to cram everything and anything into a messaging effort, perhaps looking to comment about every single new trend and story which emerges within a particular news cycle. This is when you have to play devil’s advocate by critically assessing the campaign game plan and staying focused. By offering constructive insights and feedback, you’ll illuminate clients as to why certain ideas will fail or why an alternative, more strategically streamlined approach will deliver better results.
“Make It Count” via Measurement
In 2018, measurement will increasingly serve as a core component of an agency’s armory. A survey conducted by PR News and PublicRelay found that 60 percent of PR executives are asked by their CEO and executive board for data-driven analysis of their efforts, while 61 percent of respondents seek to make media intelligence more insightful. The right metrics – such as measured coverage, share of voice (or how much target audiences are talking about your client) and brand sentiment – will showcase a past campaign’s highs and lows, while helping you correct flaws in current ones and refine future strategies.
At W2 Communications, we “take a deep dive” into our clients’ tech niches and goals to completely understand what they do, and where they want to be. Then, we go beyond this baseline and challenge ourselves – and our clients – with critical thinking to enable them to get the most ROI out of their PR investment. If you’d like to find out more about this and additional services we offer, then please contact us.
Georgia Prassinos is a Senior Account Executive for W2 Communications.