New paths for PR and the communications professional

Por Rogério Artoni

The business communication professional, PR, or simply one that has a relationship with the press, has always the challenge of working with a non-tangible product. How to sell the need of investment in earned media (the spontaneous media), ground – still – considered uncertain in communications and that has some hard to measure performance metrics to your client? And, therefore, how to determine the importance of this sort of professional? The differential of the communications professional of the future is in knowing how to work and measure the unmeasurable, in constructing important data for the brand and selling projects based on references and planning. But how?

The current scenario

A research by Forrester Opportunity Snapshot disclosed in October 2018 by Cision, one of the big ones in the PR business, reveals that brands are more and more interested in tactics that raise the simultaneous involvement of clients in order to boost the future growth of the business.  However, on the other side, the research also shows that 13% of companies have the capacity of orchestrating buyer´s journey in large scale. This is because 63% of brands have difficulties in using the available data on their costumers.  

What we know about companies at the moment is that, despite the fact that 95% of their investments are paid media (against 4.5% of investment in their own publications and 0.5% in organic media), they have access to a lot of information of their clients, generated by data reports from private platforms, but they are still walking in the dark when we talk about how to use these information. Besides, spontaneous publications, the so-called earned media, is left behind in some cases due to a lack of understanding of how to measure precisely what happens and what sort of audience the more extensive organic content is bringing to the brand.

It is within this scenario that a very important niche is created and it must be covered ground for communications professionals: the human factor in analysis and data creation. The PR professional from the future must align a few factors of data analysis in order to become sine qua non to the growth of a brand, in way that contributes to the companies’ CEOs in the construction of the business strategy.

As mentioned in the Cision report, this professional must focus in having an organic media management, that is, in the strategic combination of technology, data and processes. According to the Forrester Opportunity Snapshot research, only 52% of communications teams use data of final costumers to inform how to communicate strategically with influencers and journalists and 70% of teams still depend on older methods, like simple clipping measurement, to debate the brand’s promotion strategies.

The teams must focus not only on the creation of a graphic that maps influencers and journalists, for example, but that also understands the real audience that consumes the content, finding then interest intersections of the communications professional and the brand. Besides, they must work with intelligent engagement, properly mixing the reach of each content and the relevance of that for the brand, and elaborating techniques that are going to take this consumer from the open sporadic media for the continuous and directed one. That way, the focus of the strategies is on the quality of the coverage that the spontaneous media management has generated.

The good news is that the Forrester Opportunity Snapshot research informs that 89% of the companies expect to increase expenditures with analysis and orchestration of the buyer´s journey next year, and to emphasize the importance of communications intelligence, generating a better experience for the client.

Bear in mind that the gathering and analysis of data, in this case, may involve highly elaborated or customized strategies, going many times beyond events or press kits. However, focusing on what is simple may also be a great way out. Despite being owned media, an interesting example is the case of a vegan pizzeria from São Paulo that makes in their Instagram Stories a “Battle of Flavors” through the questions button, where they place on each side one of their new flavors, and, so, in a direct and quick interaction with the final consumer, they can map the impact and acceptance of their products, generate a smart engagement, and provide an experience alongside costumers. Besides, because the action is performed in a simple and fun way, it generates a sort of “heard through the grapevine” disclosure for the brand.

But, when the data of the action above are generated, only a round graphic with colorful pieces about who the consumer of the brand is will not make the company foster sales. The correct interpretation and management of this graphic, that generates the pizza of the correct flavor, for the correct costumer, on the correct day, does, though.