#BrandTalkWithLamide: Content, Not Anything Else, Is The Future of PR And Marketing Communications
Nothing excites me more than discussions that tend towards branding, Public Relations and Marketing Communications especially with seasoned individuals like Olamide Adeyemo, the Chief Strategy Officer of Pace Sports and Entertainment Limited. He and his team recently successfully organised the maiden edition of HiFL, a University Football League, an idea I can only describe as one of the brightest to have come from the Nigerian IMC space.
Although he didn’t offer me as little as a cup of water throughout my five-hour stay at his moderately furnished apartment but, he did engage me; with some thought-provoking discussions. Our conversation spanned several interesting topics from our experience working together (as we used to be colleagues at Brooks and Blake) to challenges in the industry, to trends that we felt the industry needed to adopt to further maintain its position as one of the most profitable.
Olamide and I hardly agree on anything but on this day, we were both of the opinion that the industry is of late, ailing and in dire need of help. Research, especially the 2015 PR report put together by Black House Media not only shows that Media Relations is the most service, PR Agencies render, it accounted for 68% of its activities followed by Government Relations and Publicity both at 16% and Content development and management struggling at 9%. If nothing, what this data indicates is that Nigerian PR practitioners have restricted the meaning of Public Relations to Media Relations, which sadly, is only a tiny fraction of what PR is about. What really needs to be looked into and is capable of guaranteeing the industry’s longevity; Content Management, is being shoved aside.
One of the blurbs boldly written on the 2015 PR report website reads, ‘PR has run out of options and has missed its moment to lead. It is in terminal decline’. Findings documented in subsequent editions offered even more shocking revelations. Rather than invest in Content Management, the industry diverted its energy to digital and social media marketing, an effort which didn’t do much in shaping the industry in any form.
Ayeni Adekunle asked in one of his articles about the death of PR, ‘What exactly do we(PR practitioners) bring to the table that clients and their publics cannot do without? and the answer to this is Content. Well researched contents that speak to the core needs of the client’s target market. Contents that resonate deeply with the target audience and this, though not as easy as it sounds isn’t also as hard as it seems.
It just requires deep research and more deliberate efforts at. Truth is, novel ideas that hit the core and solve challenges especially as concerns Consumer PR, are hardly ever found on Google nor air-conditioned boardrooms but right on the streets, where the public lives. As PR practitioners, we need to understand that, for us to breathe a new life to the practice and perhaps resuscitate it, we must take, take seriously, the Public in Public Relations and be ready to sacrifice the comfort of the air-conditioned officers and comfy chairs and hit the streets to meet with the public because that is where the story really is and the content too.
The future of PR is indeed in content development and management, an umbrella that houses asset creation and ownership. The industry is saturated; very saturated we told each other till we were convinced we were saying the truth. There are no new ideas, no different approach. Practitioners daily recycle ideas, most of which largely tilt towards media relations and or social media.
This strategy has over the years failed and perhaps if Agencies and practitioners begin to take a more cursory look into the trends, consumer habits and patterns and based on their findings, generate bespoke ideas that speak to the needs of these brands and organisations, the future for PR and Marketing Communications may just have arrived earlier than we had expected.
But I foresee a challenge, I interjected before he goes on another round of rant.
What? Olamide asked.
Actually, there wasn’t any I could think of. I just wanted to throw a spanner in the wheel. Olamide knew me too well to know I was joking.