Amended with new chart and media measurement (January 2021). I have been on all 3 sides of the public relations equation, as a client, as a journalist, and as an agency practitioner. And having been in the industry since the 1980s, I have seen my fair share of the evolution of the communications field.
Crisis management and communication used to affect only certain industries such as petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals. But increasingly, with cybersecurity breaches and disease outbreaks, every organization needs to understand, communicate and manage crises well, just as pilots use CRM (crew resource management) to prevent and mitigate crises.
There has been incessant talk by some myopic practitioners that startups do not need PR (public relations) at all, much less an agency. However, is that practical, realistic, or beneficial?
If you are into photography, you would know what a shallow depth of field (DOF) means. Images with shallow DOF are more dramatic, and call us to specific things to focus on. What does shallow DOF have to do with publicity and branding?
Many smaller businesses (and larger ones) tend to avoid the media like the plague, frequently resorting to “no comment” above all else. Not only do you alienate the media and risk bad publicity and eventual blackouts (i.e. the media will neglect you when you DO need publicity), you also give up the opportunity to create new partnerships and allies.
Advertising as a marketing vehicle has seen a steady decline through the years, with margins eroded by drastic price-cutting from media owners such as newspapers, TV, radio stations, and especially online media. The reasons are simple – the advertisers have decreasing performance, profit deficits, heavy debt, near bankruptcies, and the last thing on their minds would be to spend more money in advertising.