Most PR practitioners are using monitoring technology to collect data from various platforms in order to keep track of their reputation, competitor activities and industry trends, says Andrew Nicholls, Co-Founder & Managing Director, CARMA ASIA, in this exclusive interview with MartechAsia.
This pandemic has provided organisations with new opportunities to serve and communicate with their key stakeholders, and by bringing this insight to the table, public relations teams can help businesses make better decisions, says Andrew Nicholls, Co-Founder & Managing Director, CARMA ASIA, in this exclusive interview with MartechAsia.
What are the current trends in Public Relations (PR) in the region? Has the pandemic affected it too?
The key trends of digitisation and data-driven decision-making have accelerated during the pandemic. We are witnessing a growing emphasis on internal communications and CSR, and more firms are prioritising purpose and ESG credentials in their communications.
Over 60% of the global population is now online. The digital media landscape grows increasingly fractured and complex with more corners of the internet where reputations can be tested.
The barrier to entry into online publishing is lowering by the day. Thanks to the internet’s pervasiveness, the propulsive power of social media and a growing number of messaging applications, a story published on an obscure blog can achieve worldwide reach.
How are PR campaigns measured for their effectiveness?
PR teams are trying to influence public opinion and behaviour and the measures of success will depend on the specific objectives of the campaign. There are many desirable outcomes that PR can deliver and no single metric can capture them all.
Whether you are trying to encourage people to get vaccinated, buy a luxury watch or visit Denmark, the key is to constantly link organisational and PR objectives through activity to outcomes and think about measurement from the start. It’s tough to demonstrate impact if you do not measure before and after.
How does PR use Martech?
Most PR practitioners are using monitoring technology to collect data from various platforms in order to keep track of their reputation, competitor activities and industry trends.
I’m really enthusiastic about what AI can bring to the table, particularly in areas like Natural Language Processing and sentiment analysis, which is an essential element of our business at CARMA. It’s also vital to recognise the value of pairing smart technology with smart people.
The reality is you need technology to do some of the heavy lifting and human analysis, critical thinking, contextual understanding, and organisational awareness to achieve the insight that drives better business decisions.
How important is social media for PR? Hasn’t social media affected the usefulness of PR as businesses and business leaders are now directly connected with people through social media?
Although not every organisation should prioritise social media communication, it is important to pay attention to what your stakeholders are saying on these channels.
One result of the digital revolution has been a greater ability for the public at large to hold organisations and institutions to account. Bad actors are now considerably more likely to be reported and openly debated, and social media plays a significant role in facilitating this.
Of course, a story does not have to be factual in order to gain traction. To paraphrase a well-known saying, fake news travels halfway around the world before the truth has put its boots on. Such dynamics create challenges for those tasked with business reputation management.
Any PR tips for marketers and marketing leaders?
PR teams should have their fingers on the pulse and understand how the pandemic affects all their stakeholders, including employees, investors and consumers. They must also understand their organisation’s function and where it may be able to change to better serve the requirements of these groups.
In his memoir The Business of Persuasion, the late Harold Burson – who founded the biggest PR firm in the world – wrote, ‘The PR process started with basic policy decisions that influenced institutional and individual behaviour’.
Burson saw Public Relations as advising companies on how to act, rather than just what to say. He recognised that unless they delivered on their promises, executives and organisations would lose credibility amongst their stakeholders.
This pandemic has provided organisations with new opportunities to serve and communicate with their key stakeholders, and by bringing this insight to the table, public relations teams can help businesses make better decisions.