We meet a lot of great PR people in our game, but few rock our world like Tiffany Farrington. PR queen, Social Diary founder, Sydney girl about town and arguably the best costume designer in this country, this PR pro has done one thing that nobody else has achieved – brought the PR and media industry together to collaborate, share knowledge and party like never before!
In all seriousness, Tiff owns and runs Social Diary, a members-only website providing a resource for those in the PR/media game and a valuable calendar in which event information is logged and shared across the industry. Social Diary also delivers our daily PR updates and a weekly newsletter (a bible to many).
We asked Tiff to share some insights about PR and where our industry is headed…
How long have you worked in the PR industry?
I’ve been in the industry for 18 years, starting out as an event producer, then a publicist, then wearing both hats for the majority of my career. I’ve always loved being across an entire project – from the creative production of the event, to the guest list and media relations. I wouldn’t have been as satisfied being involved in just one element.
What’s the greatest change you have seen across that period?
The industry is just so different to how it was in the 90s, with the most significant change being the rise of the citizen journalist. Traditional media is being overtaken by the regular person on social media having a voice and brands being the publishers of their own content. It’s quite mind blowing how quickly this has happened – and luckily, PR agencies have mostly been very quick to adapt to this change.
What do you think are the biggest challenges our industry faces right now?
Being taken seriously. PR people, particularly in the consumer space, have fought for the same respect, recognition and budgets that our advertising counterparts receive. To be given REAL budgets, not just the scraps left over after the advertising agencies are engaged. On that note too, to ensure social media stays within the realm of PR agencies, as it’s all about relationships, brand awareness, community and dialogue – not direct selling. PR agencies managing the social media for their clients just makes total sense.
What do you think differentiates the good from the great agencies in the Sydney market?
Experience & reputation. There has been an explosion of one-man-bands opening up in Australia since 2008, and whilst I am obviously all for people venturing out on their own, it’s best to gain quality experience from people who have been around longer than you first. Many brands have complained about some of these sole traders bringing down the reputation of the industry through lack of experience and knowledge. They also have a reputation for aggressively under cutting their competitors…so brands need to remember that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys! Undercutting only makes it worse for everyone in the long run. Anyone who is fortunate enough to work in this dynamic industry should do everything they can to uphold the reputation of us all as a group, and champion our value. Agencies that have a point of difference and a niche specialty also tend to stand out. When you specialise in one area you tend to get very good at it!
What are the opportunities for great agencies to capitalise on right now?
To really focus on digital and social media, properly – not just as a ‘slap-on’. So many agencies surprisingly really aren’t doing this – the ones who were quick to dive into this brave new world a few years ago are charging ahead. Agencies need to invest in young talent who have been trained with a digital mind, not a print one. It’s a very different specialty. Some old-school PR people are really benefitting from sourcing exceptional young digital minds and combining their new skills with their own years of core PR experience – it’s a winning combination.
If you had to predict a new trend/turning point for the PR industry in the next five years, what would it be?
Agencies may be less inclined to call themselves a PR agency, in favour of something broader that encapsulates all the disciplines they cover for their clients, not just PR in its original definition. And sadly, print as a medium will most likely be relegated to specialty titles such as airline, bridal and the like. Television is on such a downturn too in favour of personal technology. I am forever mourning this loss… I am a magazine and TV gal at heart! I believe good journalists will continue to rise on the internet – nothing beats reading articles written by trained professionals. I also hope and pray that agencies will start to investigate scam bloggers and instagrammers. I shudder at the number of people being flown around the world, gifted with thousands of products, etc… I’m like… do you not realise they have bought all their followers???! It is just SO bizarre to me. I could name 10 top local Instagrammers who have faked their way to the top and continue to, it’s appalling. Everyone has fallen for it. I hope this prediction comes true!!!
visit : www.socialdiary.com.au