Gone are the days depicted in Mad Men where public relations was cut and dry and had no close association with other corporate departments. I always viewed public relations as crisis management for everything from celebrities to Fortune 500 companies. Today, the field of public relations has intertwined with marketing and communications to create a new super branch of putting a firm’s best foot forward to the public. Richard Edelman, the CEO of the worldwide PR firm Edelman, spoke about these modern changes to public relations and the best way to be successful in this integrated new field he referred to as communications marketing.
He spoke of how the lines between marketing, journalism, and public relations were becoming blurred and that the tasks previously assigned to just one of these departments was becoming increasing relevant to the others. To be successful in this mega field, it is important to be innovative and aware of customer preferences. The traditional training for working in public relations is no longer enough to become accomplished in this discipline. Edelman urges that instructors should encourage students who are not public relations majors to consider the field. Their different educational background will bring a new perspective to the table, which is exactly what this field is vying for. By being innovative, new PR professionals can approach situations at new angles which is exactly what this modernized field is looking for: new takes on old problems. It helps to take on these problems with the customer and public’s viewpoint as well. Firms should be concerned with reviving themselves into a “living brand” as Edelman sees it. This means that every decision they make should be deliberate and with outsiders’ perception in mind. How stakeholders and customers view a brand will determine its success. For example, American Express made a very favorable move by teaming up with Foursquare. By paying attention to how customer’s buying habits were influenced by social media, they were able to capitalize on this and make it easier for customers to do what they already like to do. By thinking outside of the box and taking note of trends, people entering the PR field can find success.
As a consumer myself, I pay more attention to advertisements that seem wholesome and honest and appeal to my social side via trends in social media. Out of 12 professionals in the marketing and advertising field predictions for the future of advertising, Karen Zuckerman and Amanda Fève’s predictions resonated with me the most. They both focused on the importance of utilizing social media and keeping in mind viewers’ appreciation for storytelling and a persona of the brand. I agree with all of these and I personally pay more attention to brands that integrate creative designs into social media platforms in a storytelling manner and create a wholesome persona of the brand and people who use said products.