On the Job of Public Relations Dentsu Public Relations Inc. Kenji Hanaue
For 3 years running, projects I was handling have received awards from the Public Relations Society of Japan and the International Public Relations Association (IPRA). Recently I was awarded the “PR Consultant of the Year” grand prize. Looking back on these award-winning projects, I have put together, what, I feel, are the most important issues in my PR work.
PR IS LIKE PLAYING CATCH
PR, first of all, stands for public relations and has the objective of bringing corporations and organizations together with the general public in a good relationship. To do this, there is a need for mutual communications with the other party.
It is like playing catch. Just throwing the ball is not enough. It is only meaningful when the other party actually catches the ball. Depending on who is on the receiving end of your pitches, whether it is a child, a female, or a baseball player, how you throw the ball will differ. You may be throwing lots of balls to a spot where there is no one to catch them, In other words, if you don’t throw balls the others can catch, they may never come back to you, and you will not be able to establish a good relationship.
Generally we use the word “communicate” without thinking, but behind this is the need to know who you are communicating with, where they are, what they are thinking and in what type of language, using which design and what method they should be approached in order for them to “catch” your message. Everything depends on being able to do this.
DON’T OVERLOOK THE REAL INTENTIONS OF YOUR CLIENT
At the International PR Association’s “Golden World Award” awards ceremony, held in London in November of 2005 , where the best projects from the elite of the international PR world gathered, my project of many years on dementia, “Dementia Debunked” (Market Research Project to Better Understand Dementia) won the grand prize. Many with dementia fail to go to the hospital but by doing family interviews and quantitative analysis, we were able to discover the reasons why these people were avoiding checkups. We then worked on removing these barriers for this somewhat unpretentious project. To our surprise we won the prize!
However, the head of the judging committee commented that what we did in involving families and patients in a study that enlightened all of society on the subject matter was “something the whole world should take note of”. At that time I reconfirmed my feelings of the importance of market research.
PR workers need to focus not only on the logic of corporations and organizations with their desire to “communicate” or “be understood” but with the working public and consumers, to understand what their true feelings are.
In 2003, in my project in Urayasu, “Reducing Garbage-Realizing Recycling Campaign”, we came up with a very cute character “Kurun” to appeal to the children in a very easy to understand manner.
However, as is commonly seen in public administration, taking a “we know best” attitude just doesn’t get the citizens excited about recycling. The important thing to understand is that even though they understand the need, it is just too much trouble for them.
We then came up with the bad guy character of Gurun who appeared in videos and comic strips to duke it out representing our constant conflict with the good and bad in all of us.
THE CLIENT’S ENTHUSIASM DRIVES THE PROJECT
Here is something common to all projects that do well. That is the enthusiasm of the client’s project leader. We are motivated by this enthusiasm and return it, getting excited ourselves. More ideas pour out and the work progresses in leaps and bounds.
We did some CI work for JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) who was hoping to form an independent corporate entity, which brought this home to me. Government workers want to have the public better understand the work they do and are very serious about this. We got serious too along with them. This project ended 3 years ago and I am always happy to hear how they making decisions on and handling, one by one, each of the issues taken from a variety of surveys that we did.
Many say I get all the fun jobs. But none of these jobs start off being fun. It all starts by determining how to make your current work interesting, Luckily I am surrounded by pros who work hard on each theme presented them. I honestly feel I can do nothing alone. While holding discussions one after the other with a trustworthy staff the work begins to get more interesting.
In closing, let me say that I am very honored to receive this “PR Consultant of the Year” award. I would like to go back to the dementia work mentioned earlier. Even though it was not an exciting topic seeing the hard work of the PR people involved really boosted my morale. Thank you very much.
PRIR READER’S "PR CONSULTANT OF THE YEAR 2005"
- The final screening for the first “PRIR Readers Consultant of the Year 2005” award took place in Aoyama on December 6, 2005. The nominating committee selected the best projects. Then each of the 6 outstanding projects selected for 2005 was presented by its respective PR Consultant . The 100 PRIR readers (corporate PR managers) who had gathered for this event voted on and selected the winner.