or Why Latin America Needed Another Type of PR firm
Public relations (PR) has always defied definition as a true marketing science. Great agencies were traditionally based on individual – often jealously guarded – relationships, an indefinable capacity to spot or shape news, and the ability to convince others of the same.
As PR professionals aspired to mimic other marketing disciplines in terms of geography and scope, the above definitions proved a barrier; how do you scale relationships or a nose for news? Another challenge has been the nature of large PR mandates, increasingly reflecting those of other marketing services such as advertising and market research. PR’s traditional logic of local – relationships, contexts, stories, relevance etc – may have served a parochial industry supported by local budgets, but is diametrically opposed to the relentless currency of globality, scalability and cost rationalization the underpin the rest of the marketing services sector.
We believe that it is possible to build a scalable, repeatable PR network based on relationships and earned media. The reasons why this has proved difficult for the sector are numerous; protectionism (the PR establishment has resisted the concept of codification and/or reduced it to ancillary aspects of the job), simple denial of the marketing realities (unless PR professionalizes its proposition, it will remain condemned as a ‘subordinate’ discipline within the marketing mix), and a mis/under appreciation of the effects of globalization (meaning PR professionals who are actually able to exploit other people’s campaign ideas are more likely to prosper than those who don’t.
The latter is particularly relevant, too many PR professionals still consider it a virtue to ‘resist’ global ideas in favour of locally-developed thinking. The logic of ‘it won’t work here’ may make sense for the local agency’s bottom line (insisting on the requirement for local campaign ideas and materials), but it’s diametrically opposed to the direction of travel for the rest of the marketing services sector. A direction which has become even more global with the ubiquity of the Internet. The reality is, agencies which can make internationally developed campaigns relevant in their local market are more likely to prosper in a global environment than those who can’t, or won’t.
In PR terms, the nature of Latin America is distinct. In many instances, the media/influencer audience is simply not large or deep enough to accommodate conventional ‘anglo-saxon’ campaign thinking. What strikes a chord in the latter markets, may make little impact in Mexico or Brazil. And this is local knowledge and earned media relationships become crucial.
We believe the consolidation of the media, the ubiquity of ad blockers and filters, and the continued ‘opacity’ of paid analytics demonstrate the enduring value of earned. Principally, the ability, through force of argument, logic or relationships, to persuade people of a certain course of action.
We enable international brands to propagate stories, messaging and brand positioning across the region through the use of a proven methodology based on the adaptation of global content, the leveraging of deep relationships and a profound knowledge of region.
We are never going to tell you: ‘this won’t work here’. We are only going to focus on: ‘this is how to make it work here’.