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One of the favourite questions that adults like to ask children is what they want to be when they grow up but, when I was going to school, the profession of PR, i.e., public relations expert did not exist. There were no schools and colleges that could provide adequate knowledge. In the meantime, a lot has changed. Enrolment fever at colleges is starting these days and the title of PR manager is one of the most attractive for young, educated, eloquent people eager for professional challenges. Numerous educational institutions, mostly private, now enable the mastery and improvement of PR techniques. There is a growing question regarding the standardization of the profession of professional communicator as a new educational profile. At the same time, numerous seminars, congresses, summits and panels provide the opportunity for additional education and information on the latest trends in the field of communications, because it is definitely an industry that is rapidly changing and developing. One such event – Global PR Summit – was recently held in Belgrade.
What is new in the world of PR?
Belgrade was a gathering place for experts in the field of public relations and social media, the world’s most powerful brands, including Microsoft, Huawei, Unilever Hair Care, P&G, DeltaHolding, Rolls Royce Motor Cars, SAP, as an overture to the same event that will take place next week in New York.
One of the first topics that the distinguished panellists shared with us was how they get informed in the morning. Although the sources and ways of informing PR experts from renowned companies and agencies vary from the traditional reading of press clippings that arrive in the mail, to scanning all social networks, they all have a common tool they use – a smartphone. “It all starts and ends with a mobile phone,” was the conclusion of the Huawei representative, and the question that arose was to what extent and how functionally we, as professional communicators, use it to inform ourselves and learn about the latest trends in our areas of interest.
„Successful people are curious people“
The basis of PR is communication and exchange of real information, which is spreading with incredible speed today, so the question of the engagement and presence of executive directors of companies on social networks has been raised. Why aren’t they more present and how can that change? Research shows that as many as 60% of top management representatives (CEOs) are not on LinkedIn, which, according to panellists, is one of the most useful channels of communication. Also, there is a well-known trend of companies and clients investing more and more in digital advertising, and less and less in advertising in print media or TV commercials. Namely, the key message will reach a large number of users much faster if it is shared by a well-known blogger or Twitter user with a large number of followers than viewers of a certain TV channel will see it in a few seconds. The interlocutors agree that the success of PR managers depends on professional curiosity and comprehensive information. The misconception is that narrow professional orientation is the basis of everything, because they are often in a situation where they have to talk to clients about the economy, marketing, events on the international political scene, and also be ready to discuss the latest trends in other areas, from exchange rate movement, world stock market, to the latest achievements in the field of architecture or IT technology. Knowledge of law, sociology and psychology is also desirable, and knowledge of foreign languages goes without saying.
Who is really the stronger sex in the PR world – the question of gender equality
This is a topic that especially caught my attention in the lecture Statistics show that women managers need to work almost until they are 80 years old in order to earn the same amount of money that men earn by the end of their working life. The participants in the summit also pointed out that it is an indisputable fact that today there are more men than women in the position of executive directors in most world companies. On the other hand, from the experience of other Summit participants, women in CEO positions are more trusted, they are more sincere and loyal than men in the same position. Recently, our national airline made the first flight in its history with a completely female crew. This move by Air Serbia was met with the enthusiasm of both passengers and the public and gave an incentive to women to follow their dreams because there are no unattainable positions, whether it is that of a PR, an airplane pilot or in some other profession.
How important are measurement and evaluation in PR?
As a graduate philologist, I never excelled in mathematics, and when I started dealing with public relations, I never thought that calculation, percentages and budget planning would become a part of my everyday life. I was mistaken because, if PR activities cannot be measured and calculated, how will we know if and how successful they were. This was confirmed by a participant of the Global PR Summit, a representative of AMEC, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communications.. Measurement and evaluation of results are important for both PR professionals and their clients, because the possibility of evaluating the implemented activities improves the quality of PR services. Clients should always be presented with the results of their work with exact parameters and in that way justify not only their trust but also the allocated budget. One of the first steps is to set goals adequately. PR goals should be set as SMART goals, i.e., they must be clear, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. There are several models for measuring PR activity and a great source of information on this topic is https://amecorg.com/
Although it may sound like a cliché, one of the conclusions of the two-day lecture is certainly that a successful PR expert should focus on quality and not on quantity because “sometimes less is more.”
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Aleksandra Mihajlović, Client service director, PR agencija Right