I have worked in PR and Marketing for over a decade, yet ask my dad what I actually do and he probably couldn’t tell you! You see he worked in finance where as I inherited creative genes so we couldn’t do one another’s job. Just ask my school Maths teacher!
But if I ever get asked what I do or how PR campaigns work, I will now tell people to look at the Paralympics as this amazing event has changed attitudes on a remarkable scale – exactly what any PR campaign aims to achieve.
Contrary to popular opinion, PR is not just about counting press cuttings. It is about changing behaviours. For example, our PR consultancy gets asked to change perceptions of a company. Or we may be briefed to influence people to attend an event or visit a website.
PR activity can be measured by actual outcomes – i.e. how did the media coverage affect the target audience? The outcomes from The Paralympic Games were simply outstanding; £10m more tickets than expected were sold and Facebook followers increased from 30,000 to 117,000.
Most importantly, the positive media coverage has achieved what many thought was impossible; two thirds of viewers’ perceptions favourably changed towards people with disabilities.
The International Paralympic Committee said that media coverage of the London games had exceeded its “wildest dreams”. Now hopefully the athletes and presenters will enjoy a heightened profile and receive the recognition they deserve for their hard work.
Not only has the games been a triumph in terms of attendance and execution. But it has also helped to change attitudes on a unprecedented scale, something Public Relations has played a role in.
Do you think the Paralympic Games has changed perceptions of disability for the long term? Tell us what you think: