While at the PRSSA national conference, I attended a session where Jeffery Ory presented on creativity. It depends on which “expert” you are listening to. Jeffery presented as if creativity and strategic planning were mutually exclusive. He believed that creativity is something you are born with but strategy is learned.

Personally, I don’t think you can draw a line between the two. In public relations, challenges arise. These challenges range from public opinion relating to your day-to-day operations to how you handle an actual problem like an oil spill. Your creative solution must account for other current events and answer the specific challenge or opportunity for your organization. This will ultimately change your response, shifting your creativity. Either way, as a public relations practitioner you must raise to that specific challenge.

Strategically, you must research, identify your publics and the communications channels they are using. From there, you must creatively connect with your publics. The examples Jeffery Ory used were the FedEx’s “Return of the New Orleans Penguins” and Queensland Tourism’s “Best Job in the World.” Each uses a combination of visually striking images and short videos to encourage audience interaction.

But the real brilliance of each campaign relies on being timely. FedEx returning the penguins was just another sign that New Orleans was recovering from hurricane Katrina. Queensland Tourism was able to advertise a job when the world was feeling the economic downturn; answering the questions on how to get away and pay your bills.

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