New PR – putting Public Relations on steroids
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New PR – putting Public Relations on steroids

By Marcus Brewster, chairman.

The role of Public Relations has forever shifted. Long used to influencing audiences through media outreach (getting ‘ink’ for a client based on a story pitch and press release sent to a journalist), new PR thinking has evolved in terms of the way the industry sees itself and, more importantly, in response to what the market needs.

Coining a new phraseNew PR, if we are to coin the phrase, is defined by the breadth of possibility, rather than the limits of its traditional remit. New PR sees the bigger picture – all those marketing and consumer touchpoints – and has a strategy that links them all together. Like beads forming a necklace, New PR is what strings them together with the unifying thread of content.

The importance of content – original, engaging, relevant content – lies at the heart of any communication campaign. In one old-school guise, content would have manifested as a press release sent to media. The media publish or broadcast this content and the public is reached.

The word content is now understood to include all manner of things ranging from a blogger posting to an activation. A staged event (eg a product launch) becomes content as soon as it passes through a channel such as social media. It becomes content when a piece of video footage (shot maybe on a guest’s cell phone) is sent via Vine or loaded to YouTube. It becomes content when the function gets tweeted about. And it becomes content when photos of the event are posted on the client’s website. Navigating the rapids of New Marketing

The biggest opportunity for PR in this coming decade is to help clients navigate the rapids and currents of New Marketing. If you are a very large brand with a dedicated brand management and marketing team, you have the IP in-house to keep apace of these new developments. In all likelihood you will have sufficient budgetary resources to engage a Top 5 advertising agency and plug into their IP resources to develop a brand-specific response.

But the bulk of companies are not in the Top 5 zone of the pyramid apex. They’re a little further down as the pyramid gets wider. And interestingly, the lower you go down the sides of the pyramid, the more interesting the campaign assignments become. The remaining 95% of the pyramid includes business owners who don’t have the luxury of a brand manager and who juggle marketing duties as part of their 360 degree portfolio of running a company. PR is very good to these unsung business heroes.

Because PR is about producing and disbursing messaging (a synonym for content), it’s salutary to get to sit with an MD or CEO, often the company founder, and help them with their brand articulation. He may not know the shifts in audiences and how they chose to be communicated with, but he knows his product. New PR is the elixir than can vivify his business, give the company a public presence and give the organisation a consistent voice.

How does new PR help? New PR delivers this outcome by managing a suite of communication services and service providers. New PR’s remit of managed communication services means it can play a consultative role in – and provide an overview on – all the various marketing communication touchpoints of an organisation. Above and beyond the publicity and media relations function most people ascribe to the profession, New PR can advise on anything from website download speeds (and why they’re important) to Vine (and what it says about the future of content).

Effectively there’s a universe of sub-specialised service providers for everything from SEO to media audits to getting a meeting with a government minister. Clients are being shortsighted if this PR network of knowledge and influence is not being tapped into.

Managed communication services doesn’t mean New PR executes these tasks in-house – rather it means a project management responsibility to integrate a variety of external service providers to deliver a seamless campaign roll-out.

The opportunity for Public Relations, more so than any other marcomms service provider, is in its inherent ability to produce and manage content through every kind of channel. New PR delivers integrated messaging. New PR delivers results.

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