Don’t Overlook Creativity When Crafting PR Strategy and Executing Tactics

January 16, 2018

How do you define creativity?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of creativity is “the ability to create.”

When I think about the word creativity and its’ role in my professional career as a Public Relations Specialist, I think, “How can we shake up the way we think?”

There is an everlasting debate between advertising and public relations. Throughout my education I would hear, “If you’re a writer, go into the PR field. If you’re a creator, work in advertising.”

Did we lose sight that public relations is a field that needs creative professionals? If so, why?

In a recent AdAge article entitled, ”CREATIVITY: A CONVERSATION WITH CANNES LIONS’ SIMON COOK, Cook defines creativity and how it has changed stating, “There’s a much broader mix of people and job roles—just look at the mix of people credited on the work. Many different backgrounds and disciplines each bringing a unique perspective that makes the blend of work much richer. The result is creative work that goes beyond “advertising.””

From the outside looking in, press releases seem very outdated, boring, and uncreative. On the contrary, it takes a real creative PR pro to craft a press release or media pitch about something that is not hard or breaking news that gets media attention and coverage.

Public relations also involves pitching your client to the right media and demographic so you can communicate to their audience. Think of it as sales. You need a short elevator pitch that will not only grasp the editors’ attention, but will also sell them on the story or news angle so they will want to include it in their features.

After you’re included in features and have the audience’s attention, you’ll begin to help form a brand identity. PR enhances marketing efforts to help create a successful brand identity. It’s effectiveness of a 3rd party endorsement, such as a news segment, adds to the overall reach of the campaign with earned media. With customers, mostly Millennials, increasingly relying on ratings and reviews as a guide for purchasing decisions, it is important to have a verified 3rd party that the audience will trust. In an article entitled, “The Power of Third-Party Influencers”, the site discusses the power of credibility and top-tier media relationships stating, “Every brand, regardless of industry, wants to be perceived as a credible player, and influencers are one of the best ways to build credibility. When an unaffiliated expert speaks positively about your brand, significant credibility is attained that is difficult to achieve in almost any other way. … When a third-party influencer speaks positively about your product or service, it validates it within the consumer marketplace.”

PR is about taking your mixed media background, and putting the creative juices to work. In addition to press releases and pitches, the PR role also includes creatively building relationships with media pros, crafting a well-researched media pitch list to benefit both the client and your credibility, and creating an engaging PR campaign relating to your client and season.

What I find most interesting about public relations, is that it involves bits and pieces of advertising (slogans for the subject of PR pitches, executing creative media strategies, designing collateral and press kits, etc.) and moves forward with an even more creative approach in order to catch the eye of not just the public, but the media as well.

When I was playing the game of LIFE in elementary school, I always wanted to win the Advertising Agent job card. I wanted it so badly, I would pretend I was an Advertising Agent so the job card would automatically come to me. I would create jingles and slogans to the Oreos commercials on TV and whenever an opportunity arose, I would try and brand it. For a girl with a huge imagination I thought I would be the Advertising Agent of the World. I was excited for my future ahead. Of course, my first choice was to become a broadcaster. Advertising was just a backup career! If I had known how creative PR was and the environment it plays a role in when I was playing Life, I would have emailed the company to create a PR career card for me to use.

When looking at the future of creativity, Cook states, “ … the important thing to remember is that creativity is a very human talent. There’s a lot of talk about automation and humanity being replaced; we’ve had talks at the festival that have explored the role of robots and automation in the future. But that human ability to work with creativity is something that machines can’t replicate. As a currency, creativity will become more valuable than ever before.”

Anyone can create something and call themselves a creator, but it’s the individuals that continue to shake up the minds of the public each and every day that truly define the word creativity. Those individuals, many times, are in the Public Relations field.

With the 2017 year behind us, we can say our tactics were successful earning $2,242,389 media value for our clients and over 572 million impressions.

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