PR – the leader’s power tool

I agree with a recent observation by Ketchum Pleon’s Rod Cartwright that ‘PR is a key tool for conveying leadership at a time when leaders are under intense scrutiny.’

With the mainstreaming of social media, leaders and their PR counsel need to be attuned to the variety of different digital platforms available and know how to engage through each channel in an authentic way.

Social media, with their emphasis on real-time conversations and sharing with customers and other stakeholders, render the old ‘top-down’ communications model completely obsolete.

Planning communications campaigns follows a similar pattern to before, but with a few twists. Leaders and organisations need:

1  A clear mission and objectives for communication – allied to business objectives

2  A set of core messages about the organisation, its brand and      product offerings, for consistent communication. But blogger beware: social media engagement requires subtlety, not ‘in your face’ corporate messaging

3  Clarity on target audiences for communications engagement

4  The creative big ideas and solutions for engaging with key stakeholders. Remember that the ideas needs to be translatable into stories and conversational threads to maintain interest and build relationships

5  Appreciation of ‘register’ – the conversational tone of voice that replaces the old ‘promotional copy’ or ‘speechifying’ approaches. If you want to sell via social media, don’t be salesy! 

6  Measurement – what will success look like? Beware, though, of relying on just counting outputs like numbers of followers and likes and find ways to assess outcomes for reputation and sales. And don’t wait for the perfect metrics system before getting started!

Back to my opener – to hear Rod’s comments in full – and other commentators – check out this short video  shot at the recent ‘Power of PR’ conference in London.



Here I’ll be sharing reflections on PR and marketing in the digital age. Many of the fundamentals of good communications remain the same as before – clear strategic goals, messages, audience targeting and ROI metrics. With social media continuing to evolve, the possibilities for two-way engagement and building lasting relationships with stakeholders have never been better. And the best ideas and campaigns have yet to come!

Please feel free to follow me on twitter: @newtonpr 

I look forward to hearing from you.