What is digital PR?

Digital PR is the practice of earning media coverage on online news sites, digital magazines, and blogs. It can extend to earning social posts, interviews on podcasts or online video. It can (but doesn’t always) involve the production of digital content including images, social posts, video and podcasts. Sometimes, digital PR campaigns are optimised to drive traffic to a website, or secure links to help with search engine optimization.

Clearly, what I’ve written above is to help with this blog’s SEO. In non-robotic terms (assuming you’re a human reading this rather than a search spider), if you’ve Googled ‘what is digital PR’ and have stumbled across this post, I’m afraid you’ve been sent on a wild goose chase.

At some point in history, probably in the late 90s, there was a distinction between ‘traditional’ channels (print, TV, radio) and ‘digital’ (online newspaper websites, digital magazines, blogs etc). Some people thought that you needed specialist skills and a different network to secure ‘digital’ PR coverage and measure its impact. That was true to an extent then, but anyone who hasn’t up-skilled, or fostered relationships in today’s digital world has a lot of work to do to make their work effective.

So what is ‘digital PR’? It’s ‘PR’.


How to inspire and foster creativity in the workplace

Whilst it’s easy to recall all-singing, all-dancing campaigns when asked about creativity in PR- Thames-floating, shock-inducing, tear-shedding ideas- creativity runs much deeper than that. It’s the foundation for progress and innovation- from pitching to ways of working.

Great PR has to have creativity at the core. Not only because it is a prerequisite to effective communication, but because PR is stepping up as a competitor to its siblings; marketing and ad giants have positioned ‘creative’ as their beating heart since their inception, and PR needs to do the same. And no, you don’t need a Creative Director to set that benchmark in your team (although it does help).

 Creativity unlocks an agile advantage because it demonstrates an understanding that innovation is fundamental to keeping up with how audiences and people change. In this sense, any agency worth its salt needs to foster an entire culture that inspires and supports creativity, in all its forms. That means acknowledging that not everyone’s creativity is nurtured and brought out in the same way- and investing in accommodating this.

 What might help, are the following tried-and-tested tips for what we have found to make the biggest difference.

 1. Start with a diverse team

Bringing a rich tapestry of experience, identity and talent together is absolutely your most powerful creative asset, and competitive advantage. The best ideas are informed not just by a rich set of data, but by diverse minds.

Diversity has long been an issue in PR and the wider creative industries, and the agencies will only fall short of the best work because of it.

This needs to continue beyond recruitment and into process. At Fanclub, we have a flat structure when it comes to creative ideation for campaigns. Everyone gets involved, together- from interns to directors.

 2. Workspace autonomy

 People need to have autonomy of their own workspace, schedule and way of working to accommodate the true definition of ‘creative thinking’: how people approach problems with solutions. This can depend on so many things, beyond personality and skill.

 Allow flexibility with working hours, where people work and their own day-to-day process.

 Don’t just allow flexibility, but support it. This can also make all the difference to retaining great creative talent- a lack of practical support to help balance work and family life, for example, can mean losing them.

3. Brainstorming: consider time and space

Our MD, Adrian, always says that his best ideas come to him in the shower. Each to their own, truly. Mine usually strike me a few hours deep on Reddit (I like to think of it as ethnographic research…).

 The point is that ideas are not always born inside the confines of a meeting room, in a pressured, time-constrained brainstorm. Plus, not everyone feels comfortable shouting out ideas. Let your team stew, think, ponder and be struck by inspiration outside of the office.

 For campaigns, you might not always be blessed with a decent response time (but that’s for another blog post), but encouraging people to take a walk, sleep on things and contribute in their own time and using their own format will lead to stronger ideation.

4. Always-on creativity and a culture of proactivity  

 Don’t just ask for or rely on creativity once you have a problem or a brief. Encourage an always-on approach to ideas-sharing and creative inspiration.

 At Fanclub, we hold a weekly Open Practice Brainstorm for the entire agency, in which we develop a brief for an existing client or prospective one, and develop ideas in pairs over the week. Not only does this mean we mix up collaboration across the team, but we’ve got a stream of creative sessions and ideas at any given time.

 We also have Slack channels dedicated to sharing creative case studies and thought leadership, as well as a weekly forum to discuss them.

5. Moving away from the pressure of big ideas

 Thinking creatively is not just about huge, integrated campaign ideas. Smart creativity is being proactive with smaller ideas, and not just for smaller campaigns; reactive opportunities, strategic copy, byline ideas, and suggestions for better ways of working are all great ways of demonstrating a creative mindset.

Fostering proactivity like this, for clients and the agency team, showcases the impact of always-on creative thinking and the power of creative solution.

6. Support self-identifying ‘non-creatives’

Everyone has met someone who says that they’re just ‘not very creative’. More often than not, this comes from people believing that to be creative means to strive to be a Creative Director, or simply an issue of confidence. But, as we know, everyone has the capacity for creative thinking in their role. And whilst some might think it can’t be taught, they’re wrong- it’s about exercising those muscles more and more.

Those who lack confidence can often end up sabotaging their potential. It’s up to managers to help them explore what it means to be creative, and help empower them with confidence to share ideas and platform their day-to-day creativity. 

Emily Barnes - Account Director at Fanclub PR

 

 

 

 

 


The 6 integrated client-agency set-ups

Client-agency relationships come in all shapes and sizes. Dave Lewis, the boss of Tesco recently appointed BBH for advertising and Mediacom for media on the basis that they served him well at Unilever and he has a good relationship with them. We’re seeing the results of these appointments in the campaigns for this supermarket this Christmas, featuring Ruth Jones and Ben Miller.

Earlier this year, Jaguar Land Rover announced that it was moving all Land Rover global creative advertising and social media work into Spark 44, an agency which it had created.

A study conducted by a company called R3 Worldwide, identified six models client-agency set-ups. Here’s a quick break-down on the models, along with our thoughts on pros and cons

  1. Multiple Best in Class – here, the client leads with the integration, selecting the best creative, media, PR, event agencies etc., to serve their needs, regardless of who owns them. This is the most common set up and the one that Dave Lewis has adopted. To work well, it requires a large marketing team and agencies that play nicely.
  2. Lead Agency Model – where the onus is on one lead agency to drive successful integration. P&G uses this model and this accounts for 25% of client-agency set-ups. This can mean tighter client-agency co-ordination and requires a lot of trust in that agency to drive strategy and delivery.
  3. Sibling Agency Model – where a client is engaged with a group or network and their sister agencies. This accounts for 20% of setups. This can be great for clients with small marketing teams, because there’s a single agency point of contact. But it can mean that the agencies may not be best in class.
  4. Holding Company Custom Agency – this works well for Apple, Ford and Colgate and looks like the direction that Jaguar Land Rover is heading towards with Spark44. This is where the client creates its own custom agency. Great for controlling the strategy and costs but can lead to challenges in findings and keeping the brightest talent and getting a fresh perspective on things.
  5. The Free Agent – where a roster of agencies pitch for each project. This set-up is used by Sony and can be great for delivery of tactical work. However, the lack of consistency may mean less strategic governance.
  6. One Stop Shop - less common in Europe, but more so in Japan, Korea and Brazil, where one agency does everything for that client.

 

The effectiveness of these models really depends on the individual challenges of the client. Throughout our careers, we've been part of many of these sets ups, and often, it's the big ideas that drive integration. But successful integration doesn't just come from the set-up or the idea, it’s investment into time.

For agencies, this means “walking the corridors”, and investing in time to build relationships with agency partners. For clients, this means thinking long term with all agency partners.

Unilever and JWT recently celebrated 110 years together. Keith Weed, Unilever’s chief marketing officer credits long-term relationships as “part of our success”. If this teaches us anything, it’s that respect, trust and the ability to build and adapt relationships pays dividends.

If you’re interested in finding out more, check it R3 Worldwide’s study here.