The State Of Pr Marketing By Brian Solis

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Insight and inspiration about the new rol of the communication professional!


<p>The State of PR, Marketing, and Communications: You are the FutureBy Brian Solis, blogger at PR 2.0 and principal of FutureWorks PR, Co-Author Putting the Public Back in Public Relations and Now Is Gone</p> <p>Source</p> <p>Modern Public Relations was born in the early 1900s, although history traces the its </p> <p>roots and origins of practice back to the 17th century. Two years ago, the press release </p> <p>celebrated its 100-year anniversary.</p> <p>While the communications industry has iterated with every new technological </p> <p>advancement over the last century, including broadcast mediums and Web 1.0, none </p> <p>however, have forced complete transparency prior to the proliferation of the Read/Write </p> <p>Web aka The Social Web aka Web 2.0.</p> <p>It is this element of fundamental transparency of Social Media combined with its sheer </p> <p>expansiveness and overwhelming potential that is both alarming and inspiring PR </p> <p>professionals everywhere. At the minimum, its sparking new dialogue, questions, </p> <p>(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis</p> <p>education, innovation, and also forcing the renaissance of the aging business of PR </p> <p>itself.</p> <p>While some are already predicting the death of PR, I fundamentally believe that its </p> <p>simply the death of PR as we know it. As long as communications professionals want to </p> <p>learn and improve their craft, then we are positioned for evolution. No matter how much </p> <p>we think we know, were now equalized as an industry in order to reset, learn, and </p> <p>define and earn an invaluable role within the business cycle again.</p> <p>Contrary to popular belief, Social Media isnt killing PR, but the business of PR IS in a </p> <p>state of paramount crisis. Its not without merit however. Perhaps up until now, we have </p> <p>been our own worst enemy.</p> <p>The Social Web, the democratization of content and the wisdom of the crowds is merely </p> <p>amplifying PRs weaknesses and expediting the declination of a broken business model. </p> <p>As is, many of us are collectively contributing to its perceived insignificance and </p> <p>irrelevance.</p> <p>But theres hope and that hope is you...</p> <p>Our future lies in our ability to shift PR from a business of publicity to a regiment of true </p> <p>Public Relations.</p> <p>Abbreviating "PR" truncates the value of our role in one of the greatest transformations </p> <p>the communications industry has ever witnessed.</p> <p>As good friend Nicole Jordan told me over dinner in NY recently, PR stands for Press </p> <p>Release, not Public Relations. When people ask me what I do, I tell them that Im in </p> <p>integrated communications public relations today is about much more than press </p> <p>releases and pitching and I am so much more than just a PR person.</p> <p>(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis</p> <p>Indeed. Just ask any executive what comes to mind when you say PR and note the </p> <p>common misperception shared by many decision makers.</p> <p>The brutally honest responses, whether you agree or not, will represent more than wed </p> <p>care to know or acknowledge. The assessments and responses will most likely span </p> <p>from publicist to networker to press release to some fallaciously degrading and </p> <p>sexist stereotypes of what PR people are, how they act, and what they look like. Youll </p> <p>also summon war stories and bad experiences with PR people and agencies that </p> <p>unfortunately continue to reinforce the current state of PR crisis for the PR industry in </p> <p>general.</p> <p>There are reasons we are where we are and unfortunately, the PR industry hasnt hired </p> <p>a crisis communications team to alter or steer perception based on the industry-leading </p> <p>and groundbreaking work, results, and pioneering efforts of many.</p> <p>Let's be honest. At one point or another, we as communications professionals HAVE </p> <p>contributed to this state of crisis.</p> <p>Yes, Im speaking directly to you.</p> <p>I hold the mirror up as I comb through my professional endeavors.</p> <p>(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis</p> <p>I too am guilty of hitting send on spam blast emails and broadcasting messages at </p> <p>audiences. I have also contacted reporters without reading their work. I have been </p> <p>blinded by quantity, not quality. And, I have sacrificed the investment in relationships for </p> <p>the gamble of percentages, hoping to turn big campaigns into measurable pockets of </p> <p>coverage and visibility. My career, in the beginning, was defined by hits and coverage </p> <p>and whether those articles and stories were "on message."</p> <p>Since the mid 90s and with the dawn of Internet, Ive dedicated myself to not only </p> <p>reinventing how I practice public relations, but also sharing my experiences, successes, </p> <p>stumbles, and failures with others who care to learn and improve a global industry from </p> <p>the inside out.</p> <p>To this day, I remain continually, focused on investing in positive, constructive, and </p> <p>highly detailed blueprints on how we, as a communications industry, must embrace the </p> <p>socialization of the Web to transcend the foundation and very essence of PR into a </p> <p>more meaningful, relevant, and lasting renaissance.</p> <p>I join the ranks of many great and generous public relations and communications </p> <p>professionals who actively invest in its promise and overdue maturation to strengthen its </p> <p>hope and future while playing a role in the unification of those passionate people who </p> <p>are dedicated to its transformation. This is a position of which I'm still firmly rooted and </p> <p>committed.</p> <p>(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis</p> <p>PR Wont Change Until It Has To</p> <p>Social Media symbolizes a crossroads for public relations representing the decision we, </p> <p>as individuals, face in our career. In one direction, we can adopt the transparency and </p> <p>the expertise necessary to genuinely and sincerely connect directly with our customers, </p> <p>peers and the influencers who advise them. In the other direction, we can continue </p> <p>relying on hyperbole and jargon filled press releases for coverage, spamming targets </p> <p>with irrelevant information, maintaining a superficial and shallow knowledge of the </p> <p>products and industries we represent, and maintaining distant and removed relations </p> <p>with those we wish to cover our stories.</p> <p>In 2007, I shared a heartfelt conversation with my good friend Tom Foremski, where we </p> <p>outlined the state of PR and also what was required in order to lead and also survive the </p> <p>transition to the new era of marketing communications. His observation was best </p> <p>distilled with a blunt and poignant statement, "PR won't change, until it has to.</p> <p>As long as PR agencies and consultants are profitable as is, why would they reinvent </p> <p>themselves?</p> <p>As some of us are learning, not challenging the status quo, especially in this economy, </p> <p>is the most direct path to oblivion...unfortunately, many are learning of the perils of </p> <p>"doing this wrong" through public exposure in a very global town square.</p> <p>Contemporaneously, other communications professionals or organizations are rushing </p> <p>to capitalize on the new gold rush by adding everything "social" to their menu of </p> <p>services, mission, and experience, misrepresenting the very premise of their ebbing </p> <p>capabilities to masquerade inexperience in an exaggerated cloak of proficiency and </p> <p>expertise. Even in the face of intense competition to own the conversation, agencies are </p> <p>simply folding in new social services governed by the same top-down processes that </p> <p>govern day-to-day traditional PR. Its a survival vs. adaption philosophy.</p> <p>(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis</p> <p>Hugh MacLeod</p> <p>United as an industry that is dangerously slow to heed repeated dire warnings and </p> <p>adopt new standards, we will fail. Divided as individuals hungry for education and </p> <p>advancement aligned with those thought leaders and proven practitioners of new </p> <p>communications, we can collectively assemble a new and powerful collective of </p> <p>streetwise revolutionaries who will effectively transform, magnify, and upgrade the </p> <p>infrastructure of PR.</p> <p>As much as you hear that all of this advice is Marketing 101, the marketing </p> <p>infrastructure is actually designed to function counter-intuitively. Intention and execution </p> <p>are distances separated by reality. We speak through hyperbole, spin, specifications, </p> <p>statements, and top-down messages. We continue to broadcast these disconnected </p> <p>campaigns in an era when our intended recipients have opted out of any outreach that </p> <p>pushes an agenda on faceless audiences through unemotional voices without </p> <p>recognizing the people formerly known as the audience (thank you Jay Rosen).</p> <p>Personal vs. Corporate Branding</p> <p>Dont limit your expertise to personal experience with the use of social tools and </p> <p>networks. Your credibility, reputation, and knowledge must represent your command of </p> <p>them in action, both successes and failures in real world b2b, b2c, and p2p (peer to </p> <p>peer) engagement not simply based on your efforts tied to personal branding. Its one </p> <p>(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis</p> <p>thing to build a community around you and your online persona, its altogether </p> <p>something different and much more complex and sophisticated, to create and inspire an </p> <p>active and passionate community around a product, service, and ultimately a brand.</p> <p>With the powerful undercurrent of Social Media surrounding our personal and </p> <p>professional activity, we are now brand managers, not only for the companies we </p> <p>represent, but also our personal brands and reputations as well. If youre not proactively </p> <p>shaping and cultivating it, who is?</p> <p>We are our own brand managers now, responsible for how our personal brand and </p> <p>reputation as well as those we represent, are perceived, embraced and promoted. We </p> <p>learn through listening and participation. There is no excuse for our complacency as the </p> <p>failure in todays landscape is public, searchable, and enduring.</p> <p>(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis</p> <p>Here Come the Social Media Experts</p> <p>Credit</p> <p>Traditional PR and marketing is on the endangered species list and this is that moment </p> <p>in time when its fate is in the hands of those who are contributing to its evolution or its </p> <p>demise. The veritable problem is that those who are instrumental in its downfall are </p> <p>oblivious to it. Everything is reactive, based on economics or negative responses that </p> <p>threaten their position in the market.</p> <p>However, Social Media is not our golden ticket. It is both an opportunity and a privilege.</p> <p>Applying the old rules and methodologies of communications to the new world of </p> <p>parallel influence only expedites the irrelevance and resentment of public relations and </p> <p>marketers overall.</p> <p>Some PR teams and agencies are attacking the evolving business of PR by hiring </p> <p>thought leaders and injecting them into an existing infrastructure thats complicated by </p> <p>years of hurdles, broken lines of communication, politics, and a misaligned hierarchy </p> <p>that prevents the most qualified individuals from leading and participating in successful </p> <p>(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis</p> <p>online engagement for the long term. At best, most everything is viewed as a </p> <p>"campaign."</p> <p>Other brands and PR teams are also attempting to rally posts, articles and tweets by </p> <p>paying or giving away products in exchange for coverage and good will. The practice </p> <p>has already earned the attention of the FTC and theyre issuing guidelines to ensure </p> <p>that bloggers and now Twitterers disclose the fact that theyre paid, whether with money </p> <p>or products.</p> <p>Even after highly influential journalists and bloggers such as Chris Anderson and Gina </p> <p>Trapani have published the names of individual PR 'un' professionals and organizations </p> <p>that they consider spammers, we still actively push our messages to anyone and </p> <p>everyone as if we are determined to destroy any hope and potential of success - all in </p> <p>the name of scoring that one hit that will earn accolades and erase all of our wrongs.</p> <p>Are we not more than publicists, handlers or even worse, spammers?</p> <p>Why are the most junior people within any organization maintaining direct dialogue with </p> <p>leading influencers within their industry?</p> <p>(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis</p> <p>PR has entrenched itself in a top-down model that places strategy and direction at the </p> <p>top, management in the middle, and execution at the bottom. In a sense, many </p> <p>organizations are putting its most inexperienced and unseasoned employees on the </p> <p>front lines of PR while guiding them with strategy based on previous experience and/or </p> <p>theory, which may or may not be outdated and ineffective in todays diverse and </p> <p>potentially perilous communications climate.</p> <p>Things move too quickly to not combine experience, strategy, and execution in one role.</p> <p>With the new and pivotal opportunity presented by Social Media, we again, are </p> <p>mistakenly and unfortunately, applying the same methodologies to program planning </p> <p>and engagement.</p> <p>Social Media didnt invent conversations and it did notunearth online conversations </p> <p>either; nor did it provide, for the first time, platforms for consumers to share their </p> <p>thoughts, opinions, and advice. Online groups and opinion sites existed since Web 1.0. </p> <p>(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis</p> <p>And, before that, bulletin boards and forums hosted online discussions.</p> <p>Contrary to popular belief, there are actually relatively few Social Media Experts.</p> <p>As Ive said many times, the ability to master any subject that moves, adapts, </p> <p>transforms, and evolves so quickly is beyond mastering at least for now. We are, for </p> <p>now, simply its dedicated students.</p> <p>Even still, several Social Media experts are predominately selling strategy and </p> <p>consulting because right now, everyone is buying it. Unfortunately, theyre helping </p> <p>companies understand the mechanics of Social Media tools and conversations, </p> <p>showcasing and promoting capabilities, functionality, and also providing training, but still </p> <p>delegating the execution to more junior marketing professionals, including interns and </p> <p>students. Most of this is rooted in theory as instead of experience.</p> <p>Again, why would we entrust our most important outreach and engagement to those </p> <p>(cc) Brian Solis, - Twitter, @briansolis</p> <p>who most likely have no bearing on the real life needs, pains, challenges, and choices </p> <p>of those were hoping to compel? Yet, they are the very teams were sending out to </p> <p>represent our brand each and every day. And expert guidance from the top doesnt </p> <p>translate company-wide unless theyre part of the day-to-day team demonstrating and </p> <p>teaching through example.</p> <p>So, when a blogstorm or Twe...</p>