PR–Advertising-Marketing or maybe let’s call it ‘PRAM’. This isn’t so much an acronym as a new word. This is the reality of disciplines that have evolved and will continue to evolve. It’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s called progress.
A dollop of reality before we start. Yes, they are still regarded as separate disciplines for clients and corporate institutions, and will continue to be so, as people and messages need to be managed. And only the most agile and innovative brands will manage to do this holistically.
But, back to the world of agencies and, importantly, recognition that we’re a service industry. We should be giving brands and businesses what they need – that’s the best service.
‘PRAM’ now manifests and, crucially, germinates from the same starting point – a single idea or message. We all know the old adage that ‘marketing’ is what you tell your consumers, and ‘PR’ is what others tell consumers about your brand – but the world now ensures those messages appear side by side (often literally). They should, therefore, always enter the world aligned and co-ordinated.
Publishers like Hearst are ahead of the curve whereby display advertising sits next to advertorial, and brands are featured in editorial. These carefully integrated campaigns are just one example of the pace of change, and consumers are savvy to which is which.
Red Bull have been trailblazers in the field and are often placed on a pedestal as something ‘special’ and ‘unrepeatable’. Maybe that is true to some extent, discuss, but as a brand they continually believe in investing in all messages, not just paid messages (advertising) or creating value for their customers (marketing), but also messaging for others to write about (PR). Every brand should have this mentality – even if they can’t achieve the strategy from day one.
McKinsey infer the same in their report dated March 2015,* where they talk about ‘targeting the capabilities that matter’ – they don’t differentiate between activities but summarise that competitive advantage comes from investing where others aren’t: ‘PRAM’ is harder at the start (anything new is), but the opportunity is significant.
We’re not looking to re-label or re-define an industry, we’re not motivated by that, but we are motivated by seeing new ideas walk into the world with confidence. We’re also not the first to make a break, our friends at Brooklyn Brothers started to fight the good fight a number of years ago.
When we took PR skills and experience into a world of advertising and marketing we had no idea what would happen, but we certainly didn’t think it would be our clients encouraging us to move even faster. Progress is addictive. Results driven progress is compulsively-addictive.
We had been developing ‘PRAM strategies’; but with holistic teams and competences working collaboratively we saw the strategies realised at a far faster pace and with more significant results.
Our latest creative for Bentley, under the campaign ‘Be Extraordinary’, allowed us to put our theory into practice and launch a holistic ‘PRAM’ campaign – which is now flourishing. Of course, like any ‘first’ there will always be room for improvement, but if we were confident before, well we are all-out bullish now.