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October 29, 2018

Recently, I attended PR Week’s annual event, PRDecoded, which took place in Chicago for the first time. The event featured a number of high-profile speakers, who shared their career-defining moments, offered insights on the evolving media and communications landscape and disclosed some of the industry’s best practices and success stories.

In the immediate days following, I found myself referencing these insights in meetings and conversations with peers and decided to broadly share my top takeaways.

The customer-first mandate is forcing organizational changes

As new technologies allow businesses to better understand their customers with unprecedented real-time visibility, forward-looking companies are restructuring their organizations to accommodate for the new levels of personalization and engagement. As an example, Kimberly-Clark recently merged its social and customer service/advocacy groups to better serve its customers.

Short-term thinking doesn’t work in communications

This advice didn’t come from a communications executive. Grubhub founder and CEO, Matt Maloney urged communications professionals to build a foundation, develop a long-term vision and story arc, and then position standalone news and developments in that context. Consistency of messaging over time is a must, otherwise no one listens or cares.

Reimagine the way you tell stories

Coca-Cola has dramatically reduced the number of press releases it issues, and instead redirected time and creativity into creating content that resonates across channels. The team uses visual storytelling, invests in multimedia, gets local and human and never stops evolving.

Communicate in circumstances

Every time you communicate a message, challenge yourself: Is it relevant and is it in the right context? DeLu Jackson, vice president, precision marketing at Conagra, made a strong case for moving away from targeting specific audiences to targeting individuals based on circumstances (i.e. people looking for healthy snacks). Planning and marketing have to be fluid and contextual.  

Brands need to take a stand

Following Nike’s controversial, yet successful advertising campaign, there has been a lot of discussion on whether brands should take a stand on social issues. While there is no right answer that fits all situations, there is a general consensus that companies must have a point of view on matters related to their industries. In fact, Edelman’s Earned Brand 2018 study revealed that nearly two in three consumers are now ‘belief-driven’ buyers.

There are now six PR people for every journalist!

Did you know? You do now. This is based on new employment data from the US Department of Labor that illustrates the changing dynamics of the media industry. What does it mean? Do your homework, know who to target, and instead of writing pitches, help tell the stories.

Be confident in small numbers

How many times have you reported reach in billions of impressions that often go beyond the population of your target audience? How is it even possible? While the entire industry is moving towards key performance indicators that are more closely aligned with business goals, if you are to report reach in the context of impressions, then consider adjusting your numbers to closer-to-‘real’ impressions. At the conference, CoverageBook offered an algorithm that does just that.

Here is a visual representation of the most commonly used words:

Interested in more tips? The second blog in this series focuses on career tips. 



Posted By

Thekla Eftychiadou

Thekla Eftychiadou


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