Once upon a time, the public relations industry was more concerned with news reporting than anything else. But, PR is not what it used to be. In addition to news reporting, we now market, we brand, we tweet, hashtag, and snap—we’re not faxing a press release to a busy newsroom; we’re booking television, directing vlogs, reaching millions via the Internet. With this big boom of new media platforms, content has become more important than ever. And if content is King, creativity is the air he breathes.
However, despite this blaring truth—the fact that we are the quality of our content—only a third of U.S. PR agencies have hired a designated creative professional. Why? Most likely, it’s because a true creative professional doesn’t come very cheap. However, Steve Jobs said, and I agree, “You're well advised to go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players." For me, a Creative Director, someone dedicated purely to innovation, is an investment I am happy to bank on.
Now, this does not mean that other team members are off-the-hook when it comes to creativity. In fact, it is quite the contrary. A successful Creative Director knows that collaboration is key to creativity. The best campaigns are a chorus of ideas, not a solo. A Creative Director is simply the musical director, ensuring the pitch is perfect and the spectators are engaged. As a publicist or account executive, it is easy to become distracted by press hits and journalist inquiries, and sometimes, we can lose touch with our creative abilities. A Creative Director makes certain that creative flame is constantly being lit in each and every team member.
At one time, fancy SEO tricks were enough to create a buzz, but now, search engines have become more sophisticated, and juicy content is what they want. If you want to reach your audience (because your public is just that: an audience), you’re going to have to get creative if you want to truly catch their attention.