As a PR agency working across retail, fashion, beauty, lifestyle and events, we sometimes get asked, is PR dead?

It’s a good question. The art – or science – of marketing communications has long been based on the notion that there is no real “general public”, but in fact an almost endless segmentation of “publics”, each with their own needs, channels and messages.

Thus the term, “public relations” – but has PR had its day?

PR disrupted

Audiences have been fragmenting for ages, turbo-charged in the past 20 years with the rise of the internet and the greater freedom for consumers to tailor the way they access news, information and opinion.

And more recently, the rapid rise of social media and the resultant disruption of traditional media has certainly given the industry pause for thought: Is the old model broken? How do we reach people who seem to no longer watch TV or read newspapers? How do we influence customers who switch off traditional advertising, and who are more likely to be influenced by a 15 year old blogger 10,000 kilometres away than an award-winning creative campaign?

This is a major challenge for marketing, communications and brand managers.

Getting ahead of the communications curve

While the revolution has been upon us for some time, most organisations are only now really understanding and getting ahead of this unprecedented change to the communications landscape.

We are seeing brands – whether a bank, a retailer, a charity or a sport – responding to the challenge with a variety of new resources, skills and approaches.

The good news, though, is that amidst all this change, some fundamental principles remain. Not only is PR not dead, it is arguably more important than ever.

Good strategy wins every time

At any level, good advice and strategy has never gone out of style.

In fact, it is now some years since the PR function sat outside a strategy session, waiting to be told what to do; it has taken its seat at the table, and has the ears of the C-Suite – or indeed is now a key part of any progressive management team.

More than ever, successful PR campaigns are characterised by investment in time, resources and energy from above, built on sound brand and communications strategy, and executed through the most efficient, cost-effective and impactful channels.

Loving what is

Over the years, “PR” has come to mean many things to many people – and to an extent has had its own PR problem. Some PR agencies even deliberately avoid the term!

At effie&co, we don’t shy away from the term “PR”. We believe it remains a powerful concept that implicitly includes deep understanding, evidence-based strategy, sharply focused communications and measurable outcomes.

Do you agree? Why not post a comment, or better still get in touch and let’s talk PR.

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