During my week working at Target I have learnt potentially the most important ingredient to successful PR; learning how to create a compelling story which is rooted in fact.
Ever since Trump first labelled a story as fake news, it feels like we have been living in an era of confusion over what to believe. Certain areas of the media have been constantly under fire for bending, or completely ignoring, factual evidence and instead replacing it with information that conveniently pushes forward some other agenda. Conversely, such stories have made it more obvious that news is most effective in helping gain the trust of an audience when the heart of it is true and research and facts should be at the core of this.
Although this point may seem obvious, there are many unexpected organisations that fall victim to a lack of truth, and sometimes this is due to a lack of research. For example, the Australian government recently came under fire for its inappropriate use of social media influencers. The health department has allegedly spent a hefty £350,000 on influencer marketing in the past 18 months, and they banned the use of influencers in all official campaigns. This decision came after the revelation that the influencers they had used in their fitness campaign had previously promoted alcohol brands and dieting pills. If they had just taken a little time to do their research, they could easily have avoided a mistake which resulted in the campaign being much less effective.
I’ve also seen first hand that while members of the team might have certain interests or specialities, they are all able to put together compelling stories which communicate their clients’ key messages. This is regardless of whether it’s a manufacturer, a firm of lawyers, or an optical retailer and this is down to research to make sure they thoroughly understand a client’s aims and objectives.
My week here at Target has shown me that in an industry like PR, where the primary objective is to effect reputation and public perception, the foundation of an engaging story must be authenticity.