RNN Comms: Latest Q and A with Riki

Riki was recently interviewed for leading marketing magazine, Irish Marketing Journal (IMJ), and asked her thoughts on a number of topics from ‘Is PR viewed as a commodity?’, ‘Brexit’ and brilliant campaigns. Read her responses below...

Does the focus on digital advertising detract from the resources available for public relations activity?

If anything, the move towards digital communications has given PR an increased role to play in clients’ communications strategies. As we all know, content is key to driving engagement and delivering cut-through online. For clients, we deliver content both off and online, which becomes central to their digital strategy. All ideas should be filtered through the various comms channels and shaped accordingly, thus conveying the same campaign message but in the most relevant way for a given channel.

Our team’s PR skills have all been extended to reflect this shift towards digital comms. From Digital Marketing Diplomas with the DMI to photoshop proficiency, at RNN, we deliver communications across a multitude of platforms.

To what extent do companies see PR as a commodity, using firms as an outsourced partner to handle specific elements of their marketing while executing other tasks in-house?

Flexibility is one of our values at RNN, therefore we work in a variety of different ways with clients. From entire campaign creation and execution to supporting in-house activities and delivering international campaigns with local relevancy, we’re adaptable, focusing on delivering the best results for the client.

In terms of viewing PR as a ‘commodity’…thankfully this is not something that we encounter too often. As an independent agency, we’re free to work with whom we choose and becoming a client’s communications partner is what we’re all about. I have little interest in working with clients who view PR as a commodity, as this isn’t aligned to creating amazing work.

We’re expert communicators who deliver award-winning campaigns and first-rate counsel, and it’s important that this is how we’re viewed by clients.

Many professional services firms have recognised that billing by the hour is no longer sustainable - have PR charging structures become more flexible?

At RNN Comms, we generally charge by the day / hour however we’re adaptable to clients’ requirements. We deliver solutions and results, and are paid accordingly, that’s what counts. We operate in both euro and sterling, and work with our clients to bill in the currency that best suits their business.

We’re always open to ideas, so for clients who would like to discuss results-based billings, I would absolutely consider this, provided that there’s clear and realistic KPIs, and measurement built into the plan.

The economy is growing but Brexit looms large - how has the upturn impacted you and/or your clients and has the uncertainty surrounding the UK affected the PR industry in Ireland?

We’re quite unique in that we’re one of the few agencies to operate cross-border so we’ve actually seen an upturn in business since Brexit was announced. Although Brexit will deliver challenges for everyone, not least in terms of currency fluctuations, I’m a big believer in riding the storm and identifying opportunities.

Due to our business model, we can offer competitive rates, and by creating and executing plans for clients cross-border, clients are recognising the savings that can be delivered by using one agency in two markets, without compromising on results.

Has any individual PR campaign stood out for you in 2017?

Not solely a PR campaign but simply a brilliant idea by Adam & Eve/DDB. Playing on its ‘Love it or Hate it’ narrative, The Marmite Gene Project conducted research which found that people are born genetically pre-disposed to have a taste preference for Marmite.
A £3m integrated campaign, including consumer DNA kits and a bespoke app using facial recognition to detect enjoyment levels when tasting Marmite, is delivering cut-through for the brand. Challenging and engaging, the Marmite Gene Project is seriously impressive. Love it!