Long Live Public Relations

Long Live Public Relations

Brendon Craigie, former Hotwire CEO, and Ellen Raphael, founders of Tyto.

Today we launch Tyto, a European PR agency with a focus on technology, science and innovation. Here we share our thoughts on why we’re PR and proud.

Public Relations is dead! Long live Public Relations! Ever since we started in the industry the debate over the future of PR has existed but in the last ten years it has intensified. In recent years, many PR agencies have succumbed to pressure to drop ‘PR’ or ‘Communications’ from their names in an effort to show their versatility, while at the same time advertising and digital agencies are rushing to show that they can do PR too. The agency world, in the words of Alan VanderMolen, is at risk of creating “a generation of generalists”, who don’t showcase their core strengths.

It’s in this climate that we are launching Tyto. Proud to be PR.

Tyto is a brand-new European PR agency, founded by former Hotwire founder and CEO Brendon Craigie, and one of the former directors of Sense About Science UK, Ellen Raphael. We are a multi-disciplinary, multi-national team that operates as one unit, across geographical borders.

We are a team of nine experienced, senior communications practitioners, who are tired of PR being minimised. We think it’s time to reclaim public relations, and take pride in our expertise, our experience and our value to our clients – and everything that implies.

The work of building a company’s relationships with its audiences has never been more important. And PR’s role in this has never been more vital.

So why does the PR industry insist on selling itself short or selling itself out?

The communications world has never been more confusing or more crowded. Social media influencers and politically motivated ‘news’ outlets jostle for attention, while traditional editorial voices battle for impact, and brands with a story to tell are faced with a bewildering array of channels and audiences.

At the same time, wider societal trends have seen an erosion of trust in the traditional expert. We have seen politicians on both sides of the Atlantic accused of corruption, highly regarded public figures brought down by accusations of professional and sexual misconduct, and, at a time when a free critically engaged media is needed more than ever, standards of journalism have been ripped apart.

We see vloggers who can garner the attention of thousands simply by sharing their everyday lives, mums’ forums cited as a political force, Facebook becoming the platform where people trade news, both real and fake, and information transcends geographical and platform boundaries. A reputation can be destroyed at the click of the share button.

Against this backdrop companies are crying out for experts to help them mediate this new terrain and to meaningfully connect with their stakeholders.

At Tyto we believe the time is now for PR to set aside its angst, step-up to the challenge and reassert its purpose.

At Tyto, we are ‘PR and Proud’, which shouldn’t feel like a bold statement and yet strangely it is. Ever since we started conversations with people about setting up a new agency, the bit that generated the most discussion was about the name ‘PR’, forget all the other bits we wanted to do, what people fixated on was whether we wanted to be defined ‘solely as a media relations’ type enterprise. And here’s the rub. No we don’t. But we don’t see, and never have, that PR is just about media relations.

For us public relations is about working with a client to ensure that its greatest asset when it comes to having relationships with its stakeholders – its reputation – is safeguarded, developed, honest and worth something, for when it matters most.

What does this mean? We believe in a full fat version of PR, which involves working across anything and everything required to build and manage reputation. We believe that in this complex world, PR agencies need the ability to deliver across geographical borders and across multiple communications channels.

Are we cheating then by saying we are a public relations agency? We don’t think so. Because we believe there is something integral and special in the words ‘public relations’ in the conveyance of relationships, in the recognising of a company’s public profile. We don’t want to just be a communications agency. Or solely digital. We want to be more, much more and for us public relations covers it. We call this PR Without Borders™.