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Digitalt har sendt alle brancher på en glidetur hen over hinandens traditionelle forretningsområder. Men hvem vinder egentlig racet. Markedsføring har talt med Kirsten Dinesen, der var den første til at udgive en bog om digital strategi og som introducerede begrebet digital PR i 2008.

Er PR i medvind eller modvind, når vi snakker digital markedsføring?

Helt overordnet er PR og strategisk kommunikation i medvind. Digitalt fylder mere og bliver en større og større del af forretningen. Men det kommer også an på, hvem du spørger og hvilken del af ”digitalt”, vi taler om.

Kirsten Dinesen påpeger, at nogle PR-bureauer har været hurtige til at forstå og se digital kommunikation som en naturlig del af deres ydelser – men der er også en del, der har holdt fast i klassisk PR primært forstået som presse og public affairs og stakeholder kontakt.

For de fleste bureauer er sociale medier en fuldt integreret ydelse, og det er godt. Vi ser alt for mange shitstorms opstå som konsekvens af en hidsig intern medarbejder, en reklamekampagne, der ikke har fået tænkt hele stakeholder universet rundt eller vurderet kampagnen i en større samfundsmæssig kontekst. Det er PR-folk trænet til, både i hverdagen og gennem deres uddannelse, som ofte er scient.pol’er, humanister eller journalister. Derfor er PR folk gode til at tænke en overordnet og langsigtet digital strategi hele vejen igennem.

Nogle PR bureauer udvikler sig i retning mod ”kommunikationshuse”, der har grafikere og mediefolk ansat. Er PR-bureauerne ved at udvikle sig til både at være reklame- og mediebureauer?

Der ligger en stor udfordring med efteruddannelse i software og interfaces for PR-branchen. Der er andre bureautyper, der er længere fremme på ”det tekniske”, men ikke nødvendigvis på det indholdsmæssige. Det er derfor vi ser en brancheglidning netop nu, hvor mediebureauer prøver sig med content, reklamebureauer med, undskyld mig – ikke PR men presseomtale – og sociale mediebureauer, med sponseret content i medier.

Er det derfor PR-bureauerne i fremtiden vil være ”lead”-bureauer frem for reklamebureauerne?

Man kan ikke tegne det så hårdt op. Hvis vi ser mere strukturelt på det, vil mere og mere branding være drevet af internationale kunder, hvor lokal eksekvering ofte bliver ren adaptation og resten bliver overladt til marketing automation i dets mange afskygninger. PR er stadig en disciplin der kræver dybt indsigt i og evne til at håndtere stakeholderrelations og det kræver lokalt kendskab. Ligesom event bureauerne, der kender lokale forhold. Reklamebureauerne har en unik evne til kreativitet, og det er deres kernekompetence. Jeg siger ikke, at PR folkene ikke er kreative – de er det bare på en mere underspillet måde.

 

Slåskampen er aflyst

Men hvem vil eje kunden, og hvor vil pengene ende?

PR-bureauerne har fået en klart tungere position hos kunderne, også drevet af at vi har en anden adgang til topledelsen. Desuden har kunderne ofte nogle fantastisk veluddannede og dygtige medarbejdere, der også har den særlige kompetence, at kunne arbejde internt politisk. Derfor er tidligere tiders uværdige slåskamp mellem bureauerne aflyst. Det handler om at kunne samarbejde og give plads til de kompetencer, der er på holdet.

Du svarede ikke på, hvor pengene vil ende?

Forretningsmodellerne er jo lidt forskellige. Budgetterne synes større hos reklamebureauerne, fordi de kræver mere produktion. Men fordi PR-bureauerne har en anderledes analytisk kapacitet er de stærkere på den langsigtede strategi, samtidig med, at PR-bureauerne i dag har et større fokus på kundernes forretningsudvikling. Jeg er ikke i tvivl om, at det store slag om den langsigtede strategi allerede er vundet af PR-bureauerne. Men den kreative udvikling og i kampagner – der ér reklamebureauerne bare stærkere. Til gengæld har de – på nær et par få bureauer – tabt det større analytiske arbejde i forbindelse med strategi. Det ligger hos de strategisk stærke PR-bureauer, og de hårde analyser ligger hos de stadigt stærkere konsulenthuse som f.eks. Qvartz, Boston, Deloitte Monitor osv.

 

Alle brancher er udfordret

Det var Kirsten Dinesen der introducerede begrebet web PR og digital PR i forbindelse med sin bog Forbrugeren i førersædet fra 2008. ”Digital strategi handler i den grad om at rive siloerne ned mellem ”specialkompetencerne” og lade kundens mål komme i centrum alt efter hvilke kanaler og redskaber, der er relevante – som SEO, SEM, 121 osv. Jeg har altid haft direct – eller data driven – i ascendanten. Flere af mine gode kollegaer i PR branchen er begyndt at arbejde med forskellige typer for marketing automation software. Det er en helt naturlig udvikling for ydelser, der ellers lå som specialer under de store bureauer eller på få dedikerede DM-bureauer. I dag er det et stykke software, vi skal mestre. PR-folk har jo altid været total nørdede, når det gælder at nå målgrupper med ultra præcise budskaber og bedst af alt: at få en dialog i gang.

 

Ekspertvældet

Kirsten Dinesen påpeger, at Danmark historisk set er et af de lande, der har været hurtigst med selvudråbte digitale eksperter, og det har skabt en vis usikkerhed hos kunderne. Bl.a. i sine mange år med PR for Google har hun fulgt udviklingen omkring SEO og marketing automation. – ” Ekspertkulturen har skabt en vis usikkerhed hos kunder, der tror, at selv små ting skal løses af ”eksperten”. Men i hverdagen er der dygtige – og mindre dygtige håndværkere – og mange ting, er måske ikke er så svære endda. Derfor er det et konstant race for alle bureauer, at sætte sig ind i de mange nye teknologier – der stadig er relativt umodne. Vi befinder os i en udfordrende men meget spændende tid. Men det kræver konstant fokus på efteruddannelse”, understreger Kirsten Dinesen.

I Frontpage har de derfor i mange år arbejdet med at, medarbejderne så vidt muligt tager de certificerede uddannelser og online kurser, der findes inden for Adwords, Google analytics, Facebook og LinkedIn annoncering, marketing automation osv. ”Biblen starter med: I begyndelsen var ordet. I vores processer starter alt med ord: hvilke ord er knyttet til virksomheden, hvad søger kunderne efter, og hvordan kan vi påvirke det gennem PR, social osv. og så trækker vi de pointer og denne tankegang hele vejen gennem den samlede kommunikation. Det hele handler om analyse og ord – og det er netop ord, PR folk er utroligt skarpe til. Jeg vil aldrig påstå, at vi er eksperter – men vi ret skarpe til digital markedsføring!”, slutter Kirsten Dinesen med et grin.

Faktaboks:

Kirsten Dinesen er direktør i Frontpage PR & Kommunikation og har tidligere arbejdet med integrerede kampagner på større internationale bureauer. Frontpage vandt i 2016 PR Tigeren/Strategi for deres kampagne for Ericsson, der var en kombination af en større analyse, udført af Deloitte Monitor på vegne af bureauet, og en PR/kommunikationskampagne.[:en]Article from the leading Danish industry magazine Danish Marketing June 2017

Digital transformation has led to a blurring of many industries, causing an overlap between traditional business areas. But who will win the race? We spoke to Kirsten Dinesen, a leading Danish PR and marketing specialist and the first person to publish a Danish book on digital strategy and who introduced the concept of digital PR in Denmark in 2008.

Looking at digital marketing, is PR currently in a tail wind or the opposite?

In general, PR and strategic communication are in the tailwind. Digital PR and communication is expanding and becoming a bigger part of the business, but it depends on who you ask and what part of ‘digital’ we are talking about.

Kirsten Dinesen points out that some PR agencies have been quick to understand digital communication and consider it as an integral part of their services, but there are still quite a few that are sticking to classic PR – primarily in the shape of media pitching, public affairs and stakeholder contact.

For most agencies, social media is a fully integrated service and that’s good. We see too many shitstorms occurring because of a hot tempered internal employee or an advertising campaign where the people behind it failed to consider the entire stakeholder universe or neglected to assess the campaign in a larger societal context. This is what PR people are trained to do – both in their worklife and before that during their education which is often political, human or social science or journalism. That’s why PR professionals excel in planning and executing an overall and long-term digital strategy.

Some PR agencies are evolving towards becoming ‘communication houses’ with graphic designers and media professionals among the staff. Are PR agencies turning into both advertising and media agencies?

Postgraduate courses within software and interfaces for the PR industry remain a big challenge. Other types of agencies are more technically advanced, but not necessarily on content. That is why we now see a blurring of industries, where media agencies experiment with content, advertising agencies experiment with…. well I wouldn’t call it PR, but media coverage and social media agencies experiment with sponsored content in media.

Is this the reason why the PR agencies and not advertising agencies in the future will be ‘lead agencies’?

I think that is over simplifying it. If we look more structurally on this matter, more and more branding will be driven by international clients, where local execution often becomes pure adaptation and the rest is left to marketing automation in its many shapes and forms. PR is still a discipline that requires deep insight and the ability to handle stakeholder relationships and it requires knowledge of the local market. Just like event agencies, who know local conditions. Advertising agencies have a unique creativity, and this is their core competence. I’m not saying PR professionals aren’t creative, they are. It’s just in a more understated fashion.

The fight has been canceled

But who will own the customer and where will the money go?

PR agencies now enjoy a much more central position among their clients, which is also due to the fact that they have more direct access to top management. Furthermore, clients often have well-educated and skilled employees who are also able to work their way around all the internal politics in large organisations. Therefore, the unworthy fights we saw in the past between agencies have been cancelled. Today, focus is on the ability to collaborate and provide space for the competencies on the team.

You did not answer where the money will end?

The business models are somewhat different. The budgets seem bigger among advertising agencies because they require more production. But because PR agencies have different analytical capabilities, they are stronger on the long-term strategy. Also, they focus more on the client’s business development. I have no doubt that the big battle over the long-term strategy has already been won by the PR agencies. But the creative development and campaigns…. here the advertising agencies are simply much stronger. But they have, except for a few agencies, lost the large analytical work relating to strategy. Now that is carried out by the strategically strong PR agencies, and the more elaborate analyzes continue to be carried out by the ever-stronger business consultants, for example. Danish Qvartz, Boston Consulting, Monitor Deloitte etc.

All industries are challenged

It was Kirsten Dinesen who introduced the concept of Web PR and Digital PR in Denmark in connection with her book, ‘Consumers in the Driver’s Seat’ from 2008. Digital strategy is very much about tearing down the silos between specialized skills and let the client’s goals guide the choice of channels and tools – such as SEO, SEM, 121 etc. I have always in my work combined public relations with direct markting tools. Several of my good colleagues in the PR industry have begun working with different types of marketing automation software. It is a completely natural development for services which before were specialities among the large agencies, or among a few dedicated direct marketing agencies. Today, it’s a piece of software we’re all expected to know inside out. PR professionals have always been kind of geeks when it comes to reaching audiences with ultra-precise messages using new technology, and, best of all, to start a dialogue.

The Regime of Experts

Kirsten Dinesen points out that historically, Denmark is one of the countries with most self-proclaimed digital experts and this has created some uncertainty among clients. During her many years as a PR executive for Google Denmark, she followed the evolution of SEO and marketing automation.

“The expert culture has created some uncertainty among clients who think that even small issues must be solved by the “expert”. But in everyday life there are skilled – and less skilled – craftsmen and many issues may not be so difficult to handle after all. Therefore, it is a constant race for all agencies to embrace the many new technologies which are still relatively immature. We are living in a challenging but very exciting time. But it requires constant focus on postgraduate courses”, Kirsten Dinesen emphasises.

Therefore, Frontpage PR has for many years been supporting employees to take certified courses and online courses found within AdWords, Google Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn advertising, marketing automation etc.

“In our processes, everything starts with words: What words are related to the company, what are the client’s customers looking for, and how can we influence that through PR, social media etc? And so we use these points and way of thinking all the way through the overall communication. It’s all about analysis and words and this is exactly where PR professionals are incredibly sharp. I always avoid saying we are experts, but we know a thing or two about digital marketing!”, Kirsten Dinesen concludes with a laugh.

Facts:

Kirsten Dinesen is the founding CEO of Frontpage PR & Communication and has previously worked with integrated campaigns for large international agencies. In 2016, Frontpage won the Danish PR Tiger Award in the category of Strategy for their Ericsson campaign, which explored major Danish companies and their attitude and readiness towards IoT in their production. The campaign was a combined major survey and analysis carried out by Monitor Deloitte on behalf of Frontpage, and a national PR/communications campaign.[:]