The public relations industry has not, in my opinion, been sufficiently innovative in recent years. While the industry as a whole has done well to embrace the many changes in communication technology and social media, PR practitioners have done little to lead clients into the next generation. Too often, agencies rely on the “tried and true” communication tools and tactics, and implement them with strong effect. But where is the creativity and innovation that goes beyond managing the communication environment today? How can we effectively alter the playing field in ways that help our clients succeed?
A surprising example is the recent Cannes awards where the public relations field was essentially shut out of any top honors for creativity and innovation. I hope to see that change in the years ahead. Our profession attracts many of the most creative and talented minds on the planet, but as leaders we can do more to unlock their potential and recruit more diverse and science-based people who, with the right investment of time and money, can come up with the next “big Idea.”
At Qorvis, we are doing just that. Recently, we formed an iQ team comprised of a diverse and talented group of traditional public relations experts, social media innovators and technology specialists who are creating an idea laboratory to develop new tools and techniques that will be of great value to our clients and the industry.
Some of the areas the iQ team works on include:
• Advanced research tools that better utilize mobile devices and applications for instantaneous feedback and measurement of brands, advertising and campaign messages
• The application of sociology and related social sciences to strategies and tactics that advance the use of social media tactics
• Navigation and content-generation tools that bring customers, voters and other audiences more deeply into the branding and sales decision-making process
These are just a few areas we are working on and we are excited to unveil them in the weeks and months ahead. But I think the important point is that as an agency and an industry we need to do more than embrace the changing communication landscape. We need to own it, manage it and lead it. The potential of what PR professionals can contribute individually and collectively is enormous. To inspire that kind of innovation, the leaders of the field can do more to invest in and reward the inherent talent we have to create a breakthrough discovery.