One of the time/interactional burdens of being in professional services, such as public relations, is the requirement to attend or host so many client events. That's especially the situation when the agency has litigation clients. Either companies struggling with legal challenges or law firms needing to ramp up its reach.
Those parties are critical. Its at them that new business is developed, client churn is prevented, and fresh strategies are floated for feedback - and acceptance.
According the Holmes Report, in the U.S., the public relations industry only grew 2.6% in 2017 versus 4.6% in 2016.
Right now, the game is mutating into a zero-sum one.
Competition is coming not from only other established agencies.
Digital natives graduating from the Ivies with degrees in communications are hanging out shingles. With their influencer sites and social media fast talk, they are dazzling clients. That's pulling market share from traditional firms.
Halloween parties demand the performance of a lifetime.
Here are the 5 coolest costumes. They align with the key flashpoints in the public relations industry.
The Ghost of Branding Past. Should a client invest so much in building a brand?
After all, the current loudest voice in communications is Scott Galloway, author of "The Four." Search engines and Alexa, Galloway hammers, have killed branding. The best at search engine optimization (SEO) and who's embedded in the Amazon empire get the business, influence, and power, not the biggest brandname. So goes the gospel according to Galloway.
The public relations representative's elevator speech at the party must contain statistics. They must deal with both the positive outcomes from branding and the results achieved through the great SEO firm the agency partners with.
It might help mentioning that Acritas reported that Baker McKenzie is the #1 global legal brand. And this has become big news in the legal world.
Robot-Like Figure. As the current cliché goes, today Don Draper from "Mad Men" would be a data guy.
That demonstration entails chatting up at the Halloween party both the pros and the limitations of AI.
Hype scares. Overselling, forget it. The most effective approach is starting the conversation with the question: Have you been wondering if your competitors are using AI?
Logo of Digital Media. There is plenty of confusion about earned media vs. paid media (including sponsored content), old-line news centers such as The New York Times vs. digital hotties such as Axios, and focusing on media vs. just turning whatever over to influencers.
Being dressed with the Axios logo opens up the issue of emerging realities in influence and marketing. No one wants to be sold to. After all, trust is so 20th century.
Therefore, the discussion dances around concrete examples of outcomes. That provides an opening for prospects or clients to confide their own angst. Have prepared a loosely constructed proposal. Keep stopping for yes-buts.
Symbol for Frugality. That could be coming to the party dressed as Ebenezer Scrooge before he had been born again Christmas eve. Or it could be as a budget graphic.
A dog fight is going on over pricing. A few agencies at the top of the food chain can still bill like everyone did pre-crash. But even that comfort zone can be blown into a million pieces by upstarts leveraging low-cost digital tactics and bypassing expensive traditional media strategies. Their signature is that they are the go-to people for over-performing and under-billing.
More requests for proposals are stating: Individuals only, no agencies. That's dominating Craigslist ads for marketing help placed by small and mid-sized law firms.
Crisis Shaman. The costume will require some imagination. The challenge is to be able to communicate instantly that the public relations representative can cast spells on all those bearing down on the client. Yes, the game is the art of voodoo and the science of perception management.
One outfit could simply consist of a Gene Grabowski mask. A partner at kglobal, he has established the aura of being able to transform an organization's problems into opportunity.
That's not new, of course. Turbulence as platform for scaling dates back to management consultant Peter Drucker in the 1980s.
What is new is being totally present in the moment. That's what establishes the platform for how organizations can emerge more than whole from the crisis. So, forget templates from a less volatile era, as Grabowski explains here in PR Week.
Another outfit could be George Bailey's guardian angel Clarence Odbody from "It's a Wonderful Life."
That's a wrap on costumes. And, no, you can't wear the same costume to multiple parties.
Along those lines of opportunity, focused public relations professionals can extract seminal case studies from the Halloween parties as how-tos for orchestrating special events.
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