• Does PR need more geeks?

    Does PR need more geeks?

    The PR Moment blog has a great sounding event in London this week. It will ask the question ‘Does PR need more geeks?’

    Speakers will include Mark Borkowski, founder of, and Alex Aiken, Executive Director, UK Government Communications.

    Numbers or creativity?
    Essentially the debate is this: how important are numbers, data and tech to the PR industry of today/tomorrow, and does their increased importance limit or diminish the scope for instinct and creativity?

    Borkowski will argue that creativity remains critical. Aiken will put the case for more data, more insight, more tech.

    It’s exactly the kind of discussion the PR industry should be having. And I’m really pleased to be able to attend (I just happen to be in London that day for another meeting).

    I’ll post again afterwards. But, of course, the answer to the question the event poses is that we all need to be a bit more ‘geekish’. We need to remain creative whilst becoming better at using data.

    Art and social science
    After all, as the old definition of the profession says, PR is both an art and a social science. To be an artist you need to be creative. To be a social scientist you need to gather and analyse data.

    As an industry, I think we have always been creative, and long may that continue. But PR in its truest sense is about changing how people perceive things in order to affect a change in their behaviour. How can you do this really effectively without the right data?

    With geeks come opportunity
    As one of the other speakers at the event (Matt Neale, MD, Golin Harris London) will argue, geeks also bring the PR industry an opportunity. He will point out that technical implementation has become a USP of today’s modern PR agency. And that the real time client contact structure of PR agencies is better suited to technology implementation than management consultants or ad agencies.

    So, embrace the geeks!

    I’m planning to tweet from the event on Thursday. You can follow me at @chrisjharrison

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