What is PR?

“Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd” said P.T Barnum and I think about that a lot when wondering about the direction of certain campaigns I am working on. Barnum said a lot of quotable stuff and he knew a lot about the magic and mischief of capturing the public’s attention. Isn’t that at heart, simply what PR is about? We capture the essence of the stories or the issues that we know will move people – that result in a tangible outcome and not just noise and output, and we build relationships with like minded people who help us to tell the story or raise the issue. Say what you will or rather, add all the metrics and influencer groups you like to that basic premise, PR still needs creative courage, empathy and great relationships to work.

The magic happens when there is trust between client and PR. These are times that require a fresh approach inspired by experience and from a wide understanding of contemporary culture, alongside a real passion for characterful, crafted campaigns. I usually go twice around the block to avoid using the word ‘disruptive’ but the truth is that most big companies are scared of the smaller disruptive ones whilst the smaller maverick ones aren’t scared of anyone. They are closer to the ground and know their market best.

These days you have to be close to the ground and you have to have one ear to it at the same time. Understanding how and what moves people is the key to great campaigns. Great campaigns are not measured in metrics whatever we may think. They are measured in how people respond and how far a story can spread. To make your campaign or your leadership go further, you have to understand the crowd. That’s really all.
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