Does ‘pure PR’ still exist?

Does 'pure PR' still exist?After almost 50 years of operating as the Public Relations Consultants Association, the PRCA has launched an industry-wide consultation into whether it should change its name. They will consider whether to drop the ‘C’, which is deemed too inclusive for an organisation that has members from across the entire breadth of the industry, and also ‘PR’, which is considered to be a redundant term in a sector of wide and varied specialities. Go the ‘A’ Team!

The public consultation raises the question over whether “Pure PR” still exists. According to The ‘A Team’, public relations is the intersection between people and a brand, and is primarily concerned with “reputation” and “gaining trust and understanding” between an organisation and its various publics – whether that’s employees, customers, investors, the local community – or all of those stakeholder groups. PR professionals use a variety of techniques to achieve this, and differ from marketers because they secure ‘earned’ media rather than ‘paid’.

But there are very few PR professionals left operating so rigidly. “As the dividing lines between practices have blurred over the years, many within our industry no longer term themselves as offering pure PR,” the PRCA statement read, “the industry has changed in nature”.

They’re not the only ones to notice. As Fifth Ring’s Katherine Fair says, “it is getting difficult to pinpoint exactly how communications, marketing and public relations differ from each other”, which, according to Ogilvy’s Stuart Smith, means there is a rush to be “THE agency” that can “own the insight, the big creative idea, produce the content and optimise the channel: paid, owned, earned media”. The definition of PR as being focused on getting a good press “is close to being redundant”, Alastair Campbell says. PR is now about marrying several disciplines to achieve numerous objectives.

We have coined this ‘The Content Umbrella’. It’s a simple concept. It denotes the merger of previously detached industries, including, but not limited to PR, digital marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimisation and content marketing, and it is a shift that has been on the cards for some time.As Google demands better quality content, online media consumers get turned off by display and brands look to engage rather than convert an amalgamation of disciplines has occurred leveraged on the basic principles of creating and distributing content.

“Pure PR” is a relic of a time gone by. Today, PR professionals must marry several principles that fall under the content umbrella and in doing so re-shape the industry’s outlook. The re-naming of the PRCA is a symbolic move for the industry as a whole; PR is dead, long live PR.

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