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PR’s creative expansion

This article originally appeared at marketingmag.ca.

By hiring creative directors and launching branding and design services, are PR firms reinventing themselves?

One of the hottest trends in public relations is the investment by leading PR firms in their creative capabilities. Some are partnering with creative agencies. Others have hired their own creative directors. Argyle Communications has taken a slightly different approach, launching a brand counsel and design subsidiary (see last week’s post). What’s behind this trend, and what does it say about the business of public relations today?

All evidence shows that PR is enjoying rapid growth and increased relevance. In an age in which communication power is in everyone’s hands, the core capabilities of PR professionals – earning attention rather than paying for it, and building relationships with audiences who have the power to talk back – have never been in greater demand.

So, why are these skills not enough? Why are we adding creative capabilities?

The reality is that even if the PR tide is rising, there are many more boats crowding the waterways, which means new competition from unlikely sources.

When marketing came of age as a profession, customers, citizens and stakeholders had far less power; with the deck reshuffled in the audience’s favour, the future of marketing will look much more like PR. We will see more creative campaigns focusing on enhancing consumer engagement. McDonald’s Our food. Your questions.” campaign is a memorable example. As a result, the boundaries between previously discrete disciplines are blurring.

In this changed competitive environment, PR firms have some great strengths: they tend to be better than marketers at authentic and transparent engagement, issues management and the facilitation of two-way dialogue. They’re used to having little control over a message, and good at earning influence to ensure the message finds its target.

PR firms tend to be weaker, however, at communicating the emotional rather than the functional benefit of a brand; at using visuals powerfully and creatively to make a claim, define an issue and persuade an audience. That’s why an investment in creative capabilities can make a critical difference.

Does this mean PR firms and creative agencies will start to resemble each other? In some cases, yes. Some of our peers are evolving their firms to pursue more of a hybrid model. Looking south of the border, many independent PR firms have already made that transition.

Whatever their chosen business models, I believe the most successful firms will not blur the boundaries too much. The key is to maintain PR’s biggest point of differentiation: our business is about relationships, and a PR firm’s edge comes from employing and developing specialists who truly understand how to build and strengthen relationships for mutual benefit of clients and their audiences or stakeholders. We will just have a more creative set of tools to do so.

Daniel Tisch is CEO of Argyle Communications, one of Canada’s largest independent public relations firms, and Chairman of Argyle Brand Counsel + Design (ABC+D). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Public Relations Society and was the 2011-2013 Chair of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management.

October 20th, 2014 | Posted in Ideas, News | 0 Comments

YOUR BRAND, POWERED BY COMMUNICATION

Argyle launches new brand counsel and creative design consultancy

Daniel Tisch and Jean-Pierre Veilleux

(Toronto, Canada, October 16, 2014)– Argyle Communications, one of Canada’s largest independent public relations firms, today announced the launch of a new subsidiary, Argyle Brand Counsel + Design. ABC+D combines branding, design, communications and public relations to influence how the public perceives and interacts with brands, the cultures they create, and the ideas they promote.

Branding is increasingly crucial in integrated communications and the addition of ABC+D’s capabilities ensures Argyle’s clients get top-level strategic and creative brand communications advice and services.

The new company is led by creative strategist Jean-Pierre Veilleux, a bilingual branding and design veteran, who was previously Vice President of Creative Strategy within the Publicis Group.

Argyle CEO Daniel Tisch, who now also serves as Chairman of ABC+D, sees the new company as another step in Argyle’s evolution to help its clients build their reputations and brands.

“Public relations is thriving due to the rising importance of relationships to strong reputations and healthy brands,” Tisch says. “Traditional brand-building was designed for an era where customers, citizens and stakeholders had far less power. At Argyle, we see a market opportunity for brand counsel from specialists who truly understand how to earn attention, build trust and strengthen relationships.”

ABC+D’s singular structure ensures that Argyle’s core communication functions are fully integrated within its branding and creative offering, giving clients the confidence that their brand is set on a clear path for growth, within a consistent, disciplined and measured communications framework.

“Great branding is not just about creating distinctive new brand identities; it’s about tracking the brand’s underlying health, and building it wisely and creatively over time,” Veilleux says. “At ABC+D, we are brand counselors, brand communicators and brand designers — and our clients tell us it’s a powerful combination.”

About Argyle (www.argylecommunications.com)

Argyle Communications is one of Canada’s largest and most acclaimed independent public relations firms, earning the trust of some of the world’s biggest brands for 35 years. With national practices in corporate communications, consumer marketing, health and wellness, public affairs and digital communications, Argyle is invariably among the leaders in local, national and global awards from its industry peers. Argyle Brand Counsel + Design (ABC+D) combines branding, design, communications and public relations to influence how the public perceives and interacts with brands.

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For more information visit: www.argylebrand.com or contact
Jean-Pierre Veilleux at 416-613-ABCD Ext. 252 jeanpierre@argylebrand.com

October 16th, 2014 | Posted in News | 1 Comment

Communication with Conscience: PR’s 21st century challenge

Madrid, September 22, 2014

In September, I had the unforgettable experience of co-chairing the Eighth World Public Relations Forum – likely the most diverse global public relations conference in history. More than 800 delegates from 66 countries came together in Madrid for three days of dialogue and presentations from speakers representing global corporations, organizations such as the OECD and the World Economic Forum, and governments, including an address by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain. The theme was an apt one for our times: communication with conscience. Here is an edited version of my remarks to the conference.

With public relations practiced in so many countries, cultures and contexts, many individual journeys brought us to Madrid. But we are also on a collective journey – the one our profession has travelled in the early years of this century.

Daniel Tisch speaks on ‘Communication with Conscience’ at World Public Relations Forum in Madrid.

PR in the 21st century: Why communication with conscience matters

To consider where public relations has been – and where it is going — we must think about the context in which we communicate – the state of global society.

more »

October 6th, 2014 | Posted in Ideas | 0 Comments

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