Progressive PR: Golin Reclaims the Industry

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Published on December 12, 2018, at 2:35 p.m.
by Elizabeth Summers.

Photo by Sawyer Bengtson on Unsplash

Golin announced its movement to reclaim and redefine public relations this November. The movement embodies the very foundation on which Golin is built: progressive PR. Progressive PR embraces the constant evolution of the industry and promotes willingness to change, when necessary.

Progressive PR

“Golin defines ‘Progressive PR’ as being data-driven, creatively brave and relevance-obsessed,” Ginger Porter, president of Midwest Golin, explained. “This definition might sound like an integrated marketing shop, but the difference is that we are laser-focused on ‘earned first’ – earning the attention for the brands we serve.”

The PR industry progressed to involve much more than traditional media relations and brand development. This advancement deterred agencies from using the term public relations and encouraged them to use words such as integrated, communications, digital and marketing in fear of limiting their services.

“Previously Golin identified as ‘integrated communications digital and content at our core,’ since that’s what our industry told us to do,” Annslee Wilson, a healthcare manager at Golin, said. “After some reassessing, Golin understands the importance of effective public relations for companies, and we want to shout it loud and proud.”

It is no secret that the PR industry has evolved substantially through recent years. PR professionals have entered many unchartered territories like the digital marketing realm, the incorporation of data and analytics, and the use of predictive software. Progressive PR strives to embrace these developments with unwavering confidence and does not hide away behind new titles.

Golin’s G4 model

Golin operates under an agency structure titled the “G4 model,” which serves as a testament to Golin’s progressive nature. Golin launched the G4 model in 2010 to better compete in the digital realm.

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“Golin completely restructured the traditional agency model from a hierarchy of generalists to communities of specialists,” a 2016 Golin news release explained. “While great minds don’t think alike, with g4, they can think better together.”

According to Porter, the model places employees into four categories: explorers, creators, connectors and catalysts. The explorers study consumer behavior and are fueled by data insights. Creative-driven employees who deliver on ideas are creators. Connectors are channel experts that specialize in delivering a story in a way that attracts the media. Catalysts work to seamlessly integrate all resources of the agency for the client.

Benefits of earned media

Golin consistently believes the ability to earn media is what sets a brand apart. “Progressive PR is about believing in earned first’s power to elevate brands above others. After all, earning attention for a brand is the higher order,” Porter stated. “In today’s always-on, message-saturated world, you can not simply buy one’s attention and expect to create meaningful change.”

Golin reiterates that public relations services are unique and necessary for a brand, specifically the ability to earn media for clients. Porter explained the most precious work you can deliver to your clients is earning attention versus buying attention through advertisements.

“Basically, we are reclaiming what we have always been,” noted Porter. “We are making sure our people and our clients really understand the power of progressive public relations. If you are earning attention, that is the hardest challenge and it is bigger than just paying for attention.”

An article on PR Daily expounded on the value of earned media: “Merely increasing your digital or traditional advertising budget without an eye towards incorporating earned media can be costly and ineffective.”

Capitalizing on the advantage of earning media rather than paying for media is a primary goal of Golin’s progressive approach.

“The line is blurring between earned and paid media, and that’s a fact,” said Wilson. “However, it’s more important than ever to tell stories that don’t require paid support to get eyes on it. One of our jobs for our clients is to earn that attention, not rely on paying for it.”

Introduction of Golin’s global operating system

Golin strives to utilize insights to produce data-driven strategies to promote its clients’ brands. Advancing this goal, the agency employed a new, easy-to-use global operating system to detect engagement levels and insights.

Photo by Venveo on Unsplash

“What we wanted to do as a progressive agency is equip all employees with the tools and software to have more insights at their fingertips, not just our explorers,” said Porter. “By equipping all employees with this, everybody has the ability to hear the conversations that are happening with different industries and clients.”

The system is composed of two software packages: Relevance Radar and CXPR. Relevance Radar is a platform that uses artificial intelligence that helps predict and measure opportunities for customers. Porter explained that the CXPR analyzes the relationship between customer experience and PR. It allows the agency to intercept important social media conversations about its clients.

The data and insights uncovered through the new software prepares employees to develop fresh story angles or extend stories further on behalf of clients.

“Our software is a whole new nuance to PR,” Porter said. “We are PR agency that can predict, mitigate and measure opportunities for our clients in real time, and that is progressive.”

Diversity and inclusion efforts

In pursuit of a progressive culture, Golin recently hired Margenett Moore-Roberts, Yahoo!’s former global head of inclusion and diversity, as chief diversity and inclusion officer. Moore-Roberts teaches clients and staff effective strategies to reach diverse communities.

Porter emphasizes the importance of diversity to promote new ideas. “Diversity in our industry is a huge opportunity to use as a strategic approach to be more creative, insightful and successful,” said Porter. “With our roots being in consumer marketing, the more diverse we are, the more successful we will be.”

Golin recently launched the Have Her Back campaign.

“In support of the #MeToo movement, Golin launched Have Her Back,” explained Wilson. “Have Her Back is an initiative that aims to bring women who faced harassment at advertising and other creative agencies back to the industry by welcoming them to Golin.”

Reclaiming PR

Golin’s reclamation of public relations is meant to be a service to the whole industry, not just Golin. PR is a necessary component of business, and PR professionals should embrace the roots of the industry.

“Like many, I worked so hard to get my degree in public relations, and to rack up experience in this dynamic industry. I am excited to earn attention for the brands I represent, and I love the power of public relations to elevate brands above others,” Wilson said. “Public relations is a valuable necessity for companies, and I don’t foresee there ever being a time when that’s not the case.”

Golin strives to provide innovative, unmatchable work for its clients through the conception of“Progressive PR.”

“A progressive PR agency is laser-focused on the customer journey. A progressive PR agency has real-time media command centers in 26 offices around the world. A progressive PR agency delivers deeper insights and bold creative ideas. A progressive PR agency understands the power of digital. A progressive PR agency owns an ad agency,” Porter stated. “And that’s Golin.”

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