My children are in to Peter Pan in a big, big way. I can download about five different film versions on to my TV, three different cartoon versions and uncountable numbers of TV spin offs. We have a handful of different Peter Pan books plus a growing collection of merchandise. And a great deal of my weekend is spent putting heart and soul into my very own Captain Hook impersonation.
One amazing creative idea, told, retold and recast through multiple channels.
Our appetite for stories certainly hasn't diminished over time. But the way we consume those stories has. And this has had a profound effect on our industry.
The way we deploy and communicate creativity today is barely recognisable from how things were done even ten years ago. So in National Story Telling week, if you are sitting comfortably, I want to tell you the story about Sales Engagement and the wobbly stool...
Once upon a time Sales Engagement wasn't sitting comfortably, trying to balance on a stool with just one leg he didn't feel properly supported at all. A wise PR man came along...
"you are just using one leg. Your stool will never give you the support you need unless you use three legs," he said.
"To properly support Sales Engagement, and with it create measurable business outcomes, communicators need to use all three legs... content, media and search...," continued this PR soothsayer.
"The first leg, the essential element of modern communications, is great content, which has always been the engine room of PR. Content, is no longer just words on a page, it's also video, infographics, images and animation as well. They all have equal value in terms of storytelling and engaging with your target audience. Of course, the written word is still crucial and always will be. But these days, copy-based content has got to be really good if it's going to have any chance of being shared, tagged, blogged, tweeted and shared. Good means interesting, original, well-written, stylish, provocative (perhaps), funny (maybe) and highly readable.
"The second leg is media. For it to be really effective it must embrace all media at the same time and in a co-ordinated, integrated way. You have to use all the component parts of the media -in order to get the full attention you deserve and to give yourself the best possible chance of engaging your target audience. You can't do this with separate, disconnected approaches.
"The third leg of PR delivery is search. Without search being taken into the equation, you could spend your life firing content into the media atmosphere only for it to be seen for a brief moment like a meteor in the night sky and then vanish into the digital universe forever, never to be seen or found again," proclaimed the PR man whose language was becoming ever more floral as he got into his stride.
"Search enables content to be shared and communicated and picked up by Google. At the same time search and analytics can act as guiding lights for communications and as sources of measurement of its success. You cannot only 'feel in your gut' that you are being properly supported. But you can actually measure the quality of the support given by all three legs working in tandem. You can see the results," concluded the PR man.
Sales Engagement, who was usually extremely verbose, was quiet and uncharacteristically thoughtful. He looked the wise PR man in the eye and asked "Where do I sign?"
By telling great stories, integrating content, media and search and using them in equal measure wise PR people can help companies properly engage with their target audience. In their hands communications can deliver measurable business outcomes. In their hands communications is a corporate differentiator.
Those that don't embrace the seismic change that has taken place in our industry and ignore the tale of Sales Engagement and the wobbly stool will be left, along with Captain Hook, in Never, Neverland.
By Alastair Turner, Global CEO, Aspectus PR