NAJ News

The Changing Face of PR

27 Aug 2019

What’s your first thought when you see the word PR? Posh, young blonde women drinking prosecco with journalists perhaps. Or political spin masters tripping out fake news on behalf of powerful masters?

A recent poll by PR Week revealed that 92 per cent of people questioned had no real idea what PR is (something to do with lying?). PR is sadly mistrusted and widely misunderstood. But it remains a critical tool for any business and is needed now more than ever within the jewellery industry.

What IS PR anyway?

Put simply, PR is being able to broadcast your story to the wider world, and specifically to target potential new customers. While advertising can reach target customers, any paid placements – from billboards to programmatic pop-ups or advertisements – lack the depth and kudos of a placement that’s been ‘earned’.

Your target audience will view earned media with more credibility than an ad because it’s not blatantly selling them something. PR is a very powerful influencing tool because it can help shape public opinion on your brand and business. PR can be far more seductive and persuasive than an ad, and is more affordable and cost-effective.

For example, we rate the coverage we achieve for clients in Advertising Value Equivalents (AVEs) – what that piece of coverage would have cost if paid for. Simply based on AVE values, our clients typically receive coverage worth more than four times the amount they’ve paid for our PR services monthly.

This is a very rudimentary way of showing return on investment. We also categorise coverage according to reach (how many will see or read the coverage) and also that the editorial is hitting a client’s target customer – for luxury brands far more important than reach alone.

Instagrammers at work at Facets press day

The changing face of PR

How businesses reach end consumers is changing fast. Fashion and luxury magazines were once the primary medium for jewellery and watch brands to communicate stories and products. Television advertising was all-powerful and a huge investment. Both of these traditional mass mediums are now losing audiences to their online equivalents. Twenty, even 10, years ago, target customers would check magazines for shopping and styling inspirations. Today it’s Instagram feeds and Stories). Ten years ago, most people watched live, terrestrial TV programmes. Today, they’re more likely to consume Netflix, Amazon, YouTube; or watch traditional TV on catch up, fast forwarding all the ads.

So today’s earned media, secured by PR, is no longer confined to magazine and newspaper articles (which still have their place), but online features, YouTube broadcasts or podcasts, social media influencer posts and celebrity placements.

PR now faces the challenge of a world where consumers face a constant clamour of news and features on their screens. Under this bombardment of information, we’re all becoming more attention-deficit. Simply writing and sending out a press release, in the old style of PR, doesn’t cut it anymore.

A creative, consistent and authentic PR and communications strategy should be at the heart of every responsible business – especially in the jewellery industry, built on consumer trust and respect.

Instagramming at Facets press day

Why jewellery needs PR

It’s this trust and respect that’s under pressure, along with changing consumer behaviour and lack of consumer confidence. Jewellers face stiff competition, not just from within our industry but from the wider luxury world, particularly when targeting younger consumers, interested in investing in experiences over things. How do we tell the customers of the future that wearing jewellery is as relevant today as it’s been for millennia and investing in, or gifting, jewellery is the antithesis to throwaway fast fashion?

That it’s a highly emotive, meaningful purchase that can be treasured for a lifetime and handed down to the next generation? Through effective, impactful, well-crafted PR. That’s how.

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