Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

What My Friends in PR Will Never Tell You

Published in May-Jun 2022

Faraz Maqsood Hamidi spills the beans.

I called up all my friends in PR (well, ‘fair-weather’ friends – since they are, after all, in PR) to help me figure out what the future of PR will look like given the radically changing landscape we find ourselves in. Here’s what they said (sort of):

Simone: PR is just not the same anymore. Gone are the days of whipping up a press release and shipping it to editorial. We’ve said goodbye to the crazy launch events, the big press conferences and the extravagant activations. Even our stilettos feel two sizes larger. Instead, we’ve had to move, like everyone else, to the digital landscape.

Moni: It’s true. And it’s all Covid-19’s fault. The pandemic has accelerated the new reality of having to reach people remotely. People that we would otherwise have met in person, dressed up in Gucci. Now, we have new benchmarks and entirely new ways of engaging and interacting with the public. I’m still learning the rules of the game.

Zainab: Of course, PR is a part of every business’s strategy. But great PR is to ensure that your purpose is aligned with your audience’s ethics. The rise of the ethical audience is a post-pandemic phenomenon. People have endured hardships and suffering. So a winning brand is one that can effectively empathise and resonate at the level of moral consequence.

Marc: In France, we have a saying which loosely translates to “promote to the mistress; engage with the wife.” This must also be your view of social media platforms. Stop promoting yourself. Start engaging. It is a conversation, not a stage. Respond to every query. Build your community. Follow other like-minded brands, including your competition. Comment generously. DM everybody. Someday, she will thank you.

Bhupinder: Try narrow-casting. Podcasts are the new broadcasting networks – with a narrower, more clearly defined audience. So whatever you do, find the podcast(s) that suits your niche. Jump on the bandwagon. Get your point of view out there because your audience is waiting to hear from you. Best of all, podcasters are always looking for new guests and love being approached. Go say Namaste!

Lulu: Remember the reels of text that used to define PR? Well, that’s kind of over. We’ve all got to think visually now and communicate with fewer words and bigger pictures. The way people consume media is social. This means there’s a change in attention spans and what is deemed newsworthy today comes with bells, whistles and a link to the feature article.

Olga: You know the guys that no one talks to? The wallflowers on the social media scene. They are your hot assets. Influencer marketing is no longer about famous people getting famous amounts to walk the talk. Consumers can see through this transaction. Instead, go for micro- and nano-influencers.

Yaroslav: To add to what my sister, Olga, said, when you shift to a micro-influencer, you give them something to brag about. You turn them into somebodies. They may have a smaller audience, but their connection to them is probably more personalised or based on the kind of trust that commercial impulses have not diluted. They live genuinely. Your brand lives authentically.

Pedro: Please go easy with the data. Yes, results and metrics are important. But they are not the same as outcomes. PR is a long-term play. It’s a marathon, not a 50-yard dash. However, with all the insight metrics that social media platforms are implementing for creators and business users today, there has been no better time than now to monitor and gauge the relevance of your communication.

Javed: Finally, get out of your world and into other worlds. PR can be very insular. But when you collaborate with other brands, it’s like two artists coming together to forge common ground. This creates excitement and traction and word of mouth. Whether it’s through your product, service, content or giveaways, people come together when brands come together.

Faraz Maqsood Hamidi is CE & CD, The D’Hamidi Partnership.