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Moving beyond Media Relations

We all know and agree with the statement that “An effective Public Relations is communicating with all stakeholders of the company to seed preference, increase positive visibility and enhance reputation,” but how many us actually lives by this? We may discuss, ideate, debate, argue but finally will boil down to how many media clippings will we get?

But hold! I have starting to see some diversion here. Heard recently that Edelman India has acquired Cream Events, an experiential marketing and events company. As reported by Holmes report, the acquisition will enable Edelman to offer a broader spectrum of integrated services. Cream Events will continue to trade and operate as an independent brand and separate legal entity. Edelman is positioning the acquisition as a boost to its “public engagement” communications model, which centers on the development of creative content and media-agnostic ideas. The firm will be able to engage stakeholders through multiple communications channels, including traditional media (print and broadcast), hybrid media (blogs and online publications), social media, owned media (websites) and experiential activities.

Robert Holdheim, MD of Edelman India, is quoted saying “the acquisition will also boost the overall level of creativity of our programs,” and enable Edelman to access Cream’s celebrity and influencer management business, which adds another capability to the mix.

Experiential marketing is a discipline that employs cross-media promotional activity, encouraging two way interaction and direct physical immersion into a brand. Though it is a relatively young marketing discipline, but is growing rapidly because it ticks a lot of the right boxes. Compared to mass media campaigns, experiential events tend to communicate on a much more personal level, generate a deeper level of emotional engagement, result in better conversion rates, and all at a relatively low cost. This discipline is getting more buy-in from marketers as it creates a personal dialogue with the consumer, which they cannot ignore, not because they’re being forced into it, but because it engages with them on a personal level.

With growing fragmentation and saturation of conventional media outlets, consumers are becoming immune to messages communicated through them. Experiential marketing activities range from high profile invite only events to tasters at a local malls and market areas.

Our business today needs a paradigm shift — moving beyond media relations to “stakeholder communications.”  There cannot be one-size-fits-all approach to public relations. PR must not be limited to a singular tactic in a much larger marketing campaign. Instead, come up with ideas that engage audiences directly. Experiential marketing may be just one more addition and not the only.

Of course not all brands/companies will have budgets to try out unexplored tactics but we can look beyond whenever possible, and the good news is somewhere it has started and am sure we will all slowly move towards the new era of PR, which is beyond media relations. Kudos to Edelman India for taking the first visible step.

Will be more than happy to hear from you guys on other initiatives taken by PR agencies that goes beyond media relations. Some examples and case studies will not only enhance our knowledge base but will also help us think differently.


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