The Final Ride of the One-Trick Pony

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Many bloggers, PR professionals, SEO consultants, advertisers and marketers have been singing “the times are a changing” by Bob Dylan over the past year. These industries have been rocked by the advent of Google’s Panda/Penguin updates, the influx of content marketing and the rise of native advertising.  As Geoff Livingston and Gini Dietrich discussed in their book “Marketing in the Round,” communications professionals have been pushed by these and other industry trends to present a holistic solution for clients in the new ecosphere. They go on to describe using a multifaceted approach for attacking communication problems based on The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi.  These approaches are broken down into 4 separate parts:

1.  The Middle (Direct approaches such as email marketing, direct mail, etc)

2.  Above (Top Down approaches such as PR pitching, Influencer marketing, etc)

3.  Flanking (Paid media campaigns)

4.  Below (Grassroots campaigns using volunteers, social media, etc)

Determining which approach to embrace will depend on a brand’s resources, personnel and goals, but all of these different techniques still rely on the idea of pushing out content through different channels.  Some brands have already started to embrace this holistic mentality and others are already reaping the benefits.

Fleishman Hillard made headlines with their rebranding from a public relations firm to an integrated marketing communications agency.  As their President, Dave Senay, describes in their New York Times feature:

“It’s not that we’re going to become an ad agency,” Senay said, adding: “We’re moving into a different space. The vision is to be the most complete communications company in the world. Somebody’s got to be able to put it all together.”

Senay is right – “somebody’s got to be able to put it all together” – and Fleishman is placing themselves in a position to be that somebody.

In the advertising industry, a variety of brands have embraced a multi-faceted approach to communications, such as Digitas, Rosetta and Deep Focus creating newsrooms to help manage and create their clients’ owned/earned media campaigns.  Others such as 360i have embarked on influencers campaigns pitching their brands to various digital influencers.

This success is not limited to PR or ad agencies, even SEO firms have adopted content agnostic approaches.   Digitalrelevance (previously known as Slingshot SEO), increased their revenue by 3,597% by offering their clients services such as content creation and distribution through blogging, social media, email and media relations.

Now, these are not the only brands that are embracing this holistic approach, and they won’t be the last, but the days of specialized one-trick ponies are drawing to an end. Brands, agencies and digital firms must now have the tools and personnel to flourish in this new time.  What ways have your brands embraced a holistic approach?  Feel free to share your stories below!

(Image via Sparksheet)

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