Great PR by non-PROs

Welcome to 2014 on the blog!

There are so many timely posts circulating about PR Trends this year, what’s the next “big thing”, will the press release die (again)?

I think the big trend in PR is the increasing amount, and increasing success of, PR campaigns by non-PROs. By that I mean people who aren’t trained in or who don’t work in the industry. They come in many forms. From the lone individual who wants to change funding or policy (like our very own #SaveExploris by @thejiffster). Or one family raising awareness, whose journey and loveable personality makes them local mascots (like @wee_oscar and the rare Neuroblastoma cancer we all now know about). Some campaigns have even skyrocketed, as per the #NoMorePage3 founded by one woman (@LucyAnneHolmes) on a mission to tackle the notorious ‘King of Newspapers’, Mr Rupert Murdoch.

Calling these talented folk non-PROs is by no means an insult and neither should their success be viewed as intimidating by those of us who have dedicated our livelihood and learning to the profession. I have heard it argued that “it’s easy to sell a good cause” or “social media does not equate to Public Relations.” And that’s true. But we can’t take away from the talents of those people who understand innately who their audiences are, how best to engage with them, the viral nature of the internet and the sheer guts it takes to approach people you don’t know and ask for their help or support. I’ve also worked for many a “good cause” and trust me, it doesn’t make getting thousands of petition signatures or people queuing up to volunteer an easy task.

I for one am always inspired when I come across such campaigns, not just because of their creativity and endless effort, but because they achieve the same and more alone than many PR teams can in years, with too much coffee and an office full of funky bean bags. I may not always agree with their cause but that doesn’t take away from the evident skill in the process of fighting for the cause.

A local Twitter account that caught my eye over Christmas was @OhanaCentre (“Saints Save Lives”). It was all over my Twitter feed and is similar to the grass-roots campaigns I’ve mentioned in that it’s run by a group of young people who may not have much work experience at all, let alone years of PR training. They have campaigned for a drop-in centre in their local area and now they’re raising awareness of it to secure continued funding. But ultimately they want to ensure that people in their community struggling with mental health issues have somewhere to turn to.

The Ohana Centre Founders - image from their website http://ohanacentre.wordpress.com/about/
The Ohana Centre Founders – image from their website http://ohanacentre.wordpress.com/about/

I commend them and I hope as an industry we give people like this all the support we can to help PR tactics and skills became more mainstream and better understood by the public at large. Heck, people might even start to like us!

How’s that for a feel-good post to start the New Year?!

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