Basics first: What does PR even mean?
My name is Victoria, and you will probably see a lot more of my face from now on. Or not specifically my face, but I will show up here on NIKA on the occasion. Or specifically once a month.
First of all - I want to thank Nicole and Kajsa for giving me the opportunity, girls you inspire me every day. Secondly - I would like to ask you to read this post if you’re interested in my career so far. It’s a good way to get to know me and my “subject” here on NIKA.
Speaking of the subject – PR. It’s more common than uncommon that my friends and family ask me what PR means and what I do all day. To be frank I still don’t think my mom knows what I do for a living. How the tables have turned. So - since I already introduced my career story, I think it’s in place to introduce PR. This is not only for my confused dearest, I also wish that this could help someone who is lost in translation when it comes to choosing education. And simply want an answer to the huge question “What do I want to become when I grow old”. Perhaps this opens your eyes to the industry, or you realize that PR is your nightmare (that would although kind of mean that I am somehow bad at my job). Anyhow, if that’s the case, it’s one step closer to clarity than you were before. Win-win.
Basics first. PR is short for Public Relations, and that kind of says a little bit about what PR is. But at the same time, kind of don’t. Has anyone seen Emily in Paris? Here’s a reference for you: I believe that they called the agency she works for a marketing agency because marketing is easier to grasp, but the majority of her work and projects she does is pure PR.
- The scene where her post for the brand Vaga-Jeune gets picked up by Brigitte Macron (the first lady of France) = PR in its purest form
- The scene where they place the Hästens bed in the middle of a street and encourage influencers to take pictures on it = PR
- The scene where she questions her client about the purpose of the commercial in making, and however it will be perceived internationally = PR
For you who haven’t seen Emily in Paris, don’t worry. I will get more into it below.
So – a short description of PR would be earned media rather than bought. This is where PR and Marketing separate since the latter almost always is bought. If you see an ad in a newspaper, a sponsored post on Instagram, or a commercial on the subway – bought. If you see an authentic interview with an executive in the daily business newspaper, or an influencer posting a great send-out they received by their door – earned.
I think I am making it sound a bit narrow though, and PR is extremely broad. It is the entire process. It’s rarely just a phone call to a journalist asking them if they would like to interview Mr. John Doe.
What is the news angle, why is John Doe interesting for the media right now, can he share any new interesting numbers? But also setting the strategy. What media is relevant, where does John Doe want to be seen, who should read the interview, and what is the purpose? Media strategy and implementation is only a slice of the day-to-day for someone who works in PR, but nonetheless very important.
It is also coming up with new ideas to get brand visibility. Since humans react to ads differently than we do on material written by a journalist or someone we trust, we (PR strategists) have to find a way to get the brand seen in situations where it’s perceived as genuine. Basically working “around” the box, so to speak.
For example, if your favorite influencer posts an Instagram story where she or he talks about a product that has “saved her skin” or “is the most delicious crackers ever” you will most definitely be more persistent to buy or try it. Rather than if it was an ad for Black Friday.
Same with PR, if you see an ad popping up while reading the newspaper saying that “Emirates has the best flights to Dubai” you won’t get as affected as if you read an article, written by a journalist, about the five most unique experiences in Dubai. The latter is proven to engage more. But if you read the article closely, you can in about 75 percent of the cases find that the tips, statistics, or spokesperson comes from a company. Whether it’s about traveling, the housing industry, dating apps, or the weather.
This article is a great example: https://www.elle.se/mat-och-vin/5-champagnetrender-du-bor-ha-koll-pa-2021/7101928
And that, my friends, is PR.
There is a lot more to it as well. Handling press, crisis management, saying the right thing at the right time. Balancing on a small thread of what is appropriate, and how actions and words will be perceived by media and the public. Being alert and know when to speak and how.
As you might have noticed I could speak about this for hours. But I think this is enough for the time being. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you got intrigued and want me to do a deep dive, I am more than happy to. Or if this was boring as hell, and you feel like I have done the industry a disgrace. Always open to constructive criticism.
PR related tip of the month
To finish this, I would like to introduce you to the concept “PR related tip of the month”. This I will come back to in the final pleading of my posts. It can vary between a great campaign I like, an educative podcast, or as below, a feel-good TV show on Netflix. Enjoy.
This month I chose to come back to Emily in Paris since I mentioned above. Not just the show itself, the hype and PR strategy evidentially created by Netflix. And I am, as we speak, catching myself as a victim of free advertising, obviously. The series has gained huge attention in media all over the world. The clothing “Dress like Emily”, the condescending image of the French, the unlikeliness of events. If you google Emily in Paris, I promise you will have hundreds of articles regarding everything and between. Something I would call a PR success. Also, if you haven’t seen the show yet, give it a chance. It’s goofy and a cliché, but it will give you butterflies and a great laugh. Some things that shouldn’t be taken for granted in times like this.