For a third consecutive year as part of the annual PR awards BAPRA Bright Awards the Bulgarian Association of PR Agencies (BAPRA) organises the Sofia PR summit. Bart de Vries, president of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) and managing director of Hollander van der Mey (HvdM) until January 2016, was among the lecturer speaking at the conference. In an interview for Actualno.com Bart de Vries talked about the creativity in the work of PR experts, the connection with journalists and the need of „crisis PR“.
What does it mean creativity in PR? What should PR experts aim for?
Bart de Vries: Creativity in PR means the difference between getting noticed and going unnoticed. The competition for attention is enormous and the noise-level in communication is deafening. The strength of creativity is providing attention-arresting messages and images. PR professionals should make sure that the culture in which they work promotes creativity. They should also make creativity a habit.
What is the connection between PR experts and journalist? Should they work together and if yes when?
When is „crisis PR“ needed?
Bart de Vries: Crisis PR is always needed when public trust in an organization is threatened by whatever incident, either self-inflicted or otherwise occurring.
How has PR developed in recent years? What are the tendencies?
Bart de Vries: The biggest trends in PR are content – who ‘owns’ the content, public trust and engagement – primarily through storytelling.
Have the companies changed their PR budgets?
Bart de Vries: The economic crisis of 2008 and forward has hurt PR budgets less than advertising. As PR gets better at proving its values, specifically in terms business and organization leaders can understand and use themselves, PR budgets can and will increase.
To what extend do PR experts listen the customers?
Understanding audiences remains key to everything PR professionals do and say. It’s unclear to me to what extend ‘the’ PR profession understands audiences. I do think that each time a PR professional hears someone – client or colleague – take her/his own understanding of the world as the measure of all things, she/he must sound the alarm bell. It will almost always to mediocre or bad and misguided PR campaigns.
Interview by Petya Barzilska