PR agencies have a term – “playing nicely” – to describe the perfect way of working together with other consultancies, be they advertising, digital or any other elements of marketing.
This suggests that we’re all just too juvenile to work with other disciplines in a grown up manner, let alone to truly collaborate with them. There’s an implication that we’re all too aware of the budget that these ‘competitors’ are getting – budget that could be ours.
“But let me be clear” says Ginny Paton, “I’ve never been in a situation like that”. There have been many times when I’ve sat around the table with creative directors and digital consultants from the top ad firms, digital firms and so on, to prepare work for a mutual client. And I’ve always found it to be a rewarding, exciting experience.
It’s always a great opportunity to share ideas that cross the boundaries, finding great creatives that work for all of us. And at the same time we all get to learn from each other – and teach a little too.
And the great thing is, that in this multi-platform world, these meetings are increasingly part of the PR consultant’s job. Now more than ever, clients are choosing campaigns that will work across each and every strand of the marketing mix. And for that reason, PR agencies need to be taking a close interest in the way that their clients are approaching their wider marketing. Not only that, they should be sitting down with the other consultants in the mix.
The days of PR staying in its own little world are long gone.
So, if I was to advise PR consultants, I’d suggest they make it their mission to work closely with their clients’ other partners. That’s the only way that they will create amazing campaigns. While many PR agencies are still using the word ‘integrated’, not many seem to be getting it right.
Not every cross-disciplinary meeting goes entirely to plan, and there can be the occasional ‘lost in translation’ moment when something just doesn’t quite make sense to the other people in the room.
But all of that is overshadowed when you take part in the creation of a great new campaign, something which works across every platform. Something that you’re all proud of.
So, forget about playing nicely – that’s a given. What I want to see more PR consultants doing is leading the discussion and challenging the ad agency creatives, regardless of their huge budgets.
And that comes down to our creative expertise – that’s the power that we have around that table. Harness these skills and you’ll be leading the pack.