Communications and Public Relations are not Advertising

by Victor Lund on November 4, 2017

Press ReleaseAbout four years ago, WAV Group expanded its consulting services to include Public Relations and Communications. Like everything at WAV Group, this service is an extension of our core Strategic Planning services. In our planning experiences, we learned that companies are not doing enough research to measure customer and employee satisfaction. So we started WAV Group Research. We learned that many companies have a hard time recruiting and hiring the right people, so we started WAV Group recruiting. WAV Group communications helps companies develop and implement great communications and PR strategies.

Kevin Hawkins is our leader in this segment of WAV Group. His decades of experience are unmatched and he brings a passion that is the elixir to success. We had a discussion about Advertising Value Equivalents of communications and Public Relations. In Hawkins opinion, measuring communications and PR reach (like add impressions, click though rates, etc) by solely using Ad Value Equivalents sets the PR industry back by confusing Communications and Public Relations with marketing and advertising. There are better metrics, and we have a highly robust media platform that helps us benchmark and track PR success more thoroughly.

Today, we find ourselves in an era of content pollution. The best example of that is SnapChat streaks. If you have a teenager, you already know that kids send snaps to each other every day to keep a streak alive with a friend. It’s a small gesture of caring and friendship that manifests itself of a photo of the floor more often than not – ergo content pollution. We see the same thing happen on Facebook, Twitter, and other micro-blogging sites. Heck – the whole fake news thing epitomizes the issue.

Here at WAV Group, we develop public relations and communication plans that have meaning. Here is a primer:

At the core of successful Public Relations is real “NEWS.” Did you purchase a company, hire a new CEO, close a round of funding, create a new product, open a new branch, grow your company though acquisition, etc. Moreover, if you expect a journalist to cover your news, it needs to be news that readers care about. If my company adds a consultant, that may be interesting to the readers of Inman News, RIS Media, Real Trends, and RE Technology – but not the Wall Street Journal. If Forrester purchased WAV Group – that might be news for the Wall Street Journal, because Forrester is a big deal. News is based on new facts that change the world.

Communications is a completely different thing from public relations. It’s more like the parent and PR is the child. It encompasses all communication activities that an organization undertakes, both internally and externally. Communications take the form of an email blast, newsletter, blog post, etc. Hawkins calls it an umbrella.

Reporting on the Effectiveness of PR and Communications

How do you measure PR success? You absolutely should collect data points on all of your communications efforts. But data points are not the only measure of the effectiveness. Sometimes the reach to a single person is enough to win the World Series of communications effectiveness. The measurement is not in the numbers of audience reach. The effectiveness is measured though insights and trend analysis. The report tells the story of how communications and PR are raising brand awareness, reputation, and how your efforts increase customer and employee satisfaction. How do you benchmark against your competitors? What trends will inform our communications going forward and how will we position ourselves to those trends. And most importantly, what was the impact that was caused?

At WAV Group, we understand what CNN figured out years ago when they first started: The number of people you reach isn’t always as important as whom you reach. Reach the right decision maker, and the PR tactic you deployed was a complete success.

If you would like to discuss your public relations and communications plan – please email Victor Lund, victor@wavgroup.com.

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