In January 1999, Ceres opened for business. Our journey since then very much reflects how the world of PR has changed, evolved and expanded but how much is as true today as it was just 240 months ago?
Back in 1999, many journalists didn’t have email, never mind a social presence and some shared a PC with multiple colleagues. The fax machine was forever churning and stuffing envelopes was a national PR past-time. To have a website was considered cutting edge and mobiles were a rarity not a necessity – can you remember a time when you hadn’t heard the words iPhone, Instagram or WhatsApp!. But what was vital then as now, was relationships – fair to say that there was a little more time, so having a coffee or drink with a journalist or influencer (not that we used that word) was something there was time for - and I’m pleased to say that today I still am in touch with many of those that I met for the first time in those early Ceres years. So whether it was face to face or down the phone, there was a lot more real talking, something I personally believe can get forgotten in the ever-growing world of digital comms…but I think still has a huge amount to offer.
Whilst traditional media opportunities are shrinking, and we all strive to get the balance right between paid and earned, to win hearts and minds we need to engage with our audiences across multiple channels. But coverage remains an important strand for many brands and organisations … and let’s face it, most PRs still get a thrill when we get that hard won piece of coverage. Plus side is that in 2019 we can usually get far greater reach for the coverage as it can be maximised in other channels, delivering improved ROI for clients, who now need rightly, to see a realistic measurable return for their investment.
We all have fond memories of PR stunts – which could be great fun to do, but not so easy to measure accurately (and often very stressful and not inexpensive to execute successfully!) so for me a huge change and improvement has been the increase in accountability.
I don’t think PR has even been an easy career option (but then who wants an easy life!).. but today’s PR team has to deliver more and more! And whilst the Ceres team, like most of our contemporaries, has a breadth of people with skills we wouldn’t have dreamt of a PR agency offering 20 years ago, we do all now have to know about far more than we did back then.
As the walls between the different disciplines blur, I think the future for this dynamic profession of ours is exciting… I just have one plea … please don’t let us forget how to talk!