As organizations scramble to adapt to change, their use of public relations as a vehicle to manage the constantly evolving landscape will only grow.
The challenge of managing change and remaining relevant is highlighted in a new IBM study of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers.
• According to the executive summary, “One of the most surprising findings to emerge from our study is the degree of consensus among the respondents. No matter where they work, their industry, or how large or successful their organizations are, CMOs are facing many of the same challenges and most feel underprepared to manage them.”
The number one area in which CMOs report not being prepared (76%) is the explosion of data.
• “CMOs are . . . overwhelmingly underprepared to take charge of the growing volume, velocity and variety of data,” the executive summary notes.
PR can help CMOs mine data to unlock perceptions, preferences and concerns, but understanding customers, stakeholders or citizens is not enough.
An organization has to take action based on what it learns—and do so more quickly than its competitors. That’s where PR can play an especially helpful role.
“PR firms in general are quite adept at leveraging change, especially those who have shifted their models and strategies in recognition of the importance of digital, online, social, and mobile communications,” writes Jim Weiss, CEO of WCG, in PRWEEK.
He continues: “We are increasingly seeing the role of communications, and PR pros within companies and organizations, taking on a broader remit than ever before because communications are happening online in real-time where multiple stakeholders are seeing them all at once . . . Responsiveness and transparency with relative speed and immediacy have always been qualities the best PR professionals possess.”
Whether connecting with a reporter on deadline, responding to an irate customer using social media to vent his or her displeasure, or dealing with an actual or impending crisis, reacting quickly (yet responsibly with facts in hand) has long been a forte of the PR profession.
In the age of digital media, smaller ad agencies not only can compete against much larger competitors, but often times do so more nimbly and effectively. Those who are prepared to lead this critical PR function will ensure they remain relevant to the companies or clients they serve.
Don Beehler provides public relations consulting services to advertising agencies and businesses.