Yes, PR consultants are resourceful and innovative, because those are characteristics that are part and parcel of the trade. However, I’m not only referring to my colleagues, I’m also talking about fellow South Africans.
I recently had the opportunity to attend our client Veeam’s annual PR summit in Amsterdam for its PR consultants from agencies scattered around the world. Over 30 agencies were represented and we had the opportunity to share our common challenges, learnings and successes with each other.
The two day summit provided insight into our customer’s objectives for 2017 and PR’s role in reaching these goals. An analyst from Ovum made us aware of current global macro trends and their impact on our storylines and content development.
Implementing global PR plans and messaging from the African continent may often seem insignificant when other first world markets have more media opportunities and bigger audiences at their disposal.
However, two aspects stood out for me and made me realise that we as PR consultants shouldn’t discount who we are and what we’re able to achieve from our corner of the world.
We are a resourceful bunch and we persevere. We don’t let slow news periods, limited or delayed feedback and budget constraints stand in our way of getting the job done and getting it done well.
As professionals communicating more often than not, first world solutions to business customers in a developing economy, we know that our message needs to speak to the realities of doing business in Africa. We understand that a global message may not always land well in our market and we consult our clients accordingly.
However, self doubt can make one question one’s worth and whether the work being delivered has the desired impact, especially in the context of creating awareness for a global brand. After all, PR consultants often reassure each other with the comforting words: ‘It’s PR not ER’, in other words, don’t overthink it and don’t try to be the fixer of everything.
What I came to realise is that we as South Africans know our stuff. We know our market and what news and content our media and audiences will find valuable, but we’re also well aware of current global trends.
The second aspect that caught my attention is that we not only know of, but understand global trends. In fact, as PR consultants we incorporate, analyse and localise them in our thought leadership for clients.
We’re knowledgeable, intuitive and often humble about our achievements. We should never underestimate the impact our results have on a local and global brand. In fact, we should be proud of the marked effect we’re able to deliver for our clients from the southern tip of the African continent. Viva Mzansi!
DUO was awarded Veeam’s PR Agency of the Year 2016.