Just What Exactly is PR?

Just What Exactly is PR?

I recently attended my son’s secondary school careers fair, alongside a myriad of people with careers in fields from nursing, engineering, policing and financial services. As students filtered around the various stands and I overheard conversations, it quickly became apparent that most students had – at best – only the vaguest idea of what PR actually is. The most frequent question I was asked was “What exactly is it that you do?”

What Do You Do? 

Initially, my response was to try to explain where PR fits within the marketing mix. But, that didn’t help as eyes became even more opaque than they were originally. 

I needed to rethink my approach, quickly. 

Instead, I asked the students what their favourite brand/organisation was – and why. The answers were surprising. There were the Hollister’s, the Nike’s, etc, but there were also some NGOs and charities in the mix. 

That provided a platform for me to explain that every brand has a set of values, a mission, a raison d’être. And that the role of PR is to tell the story around those values. 

Painting a Picture on a Blank Canvas

That is the part of PR I’ve always enjoyed the most.

It is fascinating when you first start working with a company, to get under its skin and understand what its purpose is. In our case here at Neo, this includes the tech company trying to unlock hidden bed capacity in the NHS; to the cybersecurity organisation striving to change corporate mindsets away from network security to data assurance. 

Once you understand a business’ reason for being, it makes creating a campaign – in my humble view – a bit like painting a picture on a blank canvas. With the end goal in mind, every element of the PR campaign – from the social media to the thought leadership  – become a whole which is greater than their sum.  

The Brand Storyteller

It can be difficult at times to bear the ‘so what’ in mind, particularly in the hectic world of agency life. But ultimately, if we are to exceed in our role, then thinking back to what exactly it is that we do – what our own raison d’être is – is the most important part of the day of a PR, the brand storyteller.

If you are interested in working with a Public Relations agency to help share your story with the media, get in touch with prworks@neopr.co.uk

Josephine Timmins