Here are all of the posts tagged ‘PRdebate’.
So this week’s edition of PR Week has hit desks and if you haven’t read it yet then you will have missed the news that I’ve joined We Are Social. The news is awesome for a couple of reasons, both personal and professional.
First the professional: I’ve been watching We Are Social grow over the past year and a bit and have been impressed by both the clients they’re working with and the work they’re doing. Seriously. Now I’m on the inside I continue to be blown away by the briefs that come through the door and the work that goes out.
That may sound overly sycophantic but it’s a genuine response. The work that’s being planned and delivered at We Are Social is the kind that you don’t believe exists working on the PR agency side. Clearly brands and organisations want to understand social media and its impact on their reputation. But it seems they aren’t turning to their PR agency to deliver this work, instead seeking out a team of people that live and breathe social media every day. Which on reflection, is no surprise
On a personal level I’m really happy to be planning and delivering real, juicy, smart, social media campaigns, rather than bolting on digital tactics which was often the case when working to a PR brief.
Add to that the fact that I’m tasked with growing the public sector, NGO and not-for-profit work that We Are Social does means I’m working with sectors with which I have a deep personal affinity (in case you aren’t overly familiar with my LinkedIn profile I started out in PR working for NGOs). Moreover, social media comes to the fore when empowering organisations and individuals to deliver issues-based campaigns and citizen engagement.
So that’s the news. I’ve joined We Are Social. I’m excited. You can see it in my tweets. I’m going to Twestival. I’ve started blogging again. I am, as Manuel Castells might say, back in the space of flows.
Photo: Phil Sheard
Last Tuesday NMK ran a debate entitled “What Happens to Online PR” – it was packed full of the great and good of ‘Online PR’ and, aside from the debate, it was a great to have a chance to catch-up with everyone.
The evening has already been covered in depth by Roger Warner, Jed Hallam, Jo-Rosie Haffenden, Drew Benvie, Sarah Beavis, Lloyd Gofton and the organiser Ian Delaney, but the point I made in my intervention on the night seems to have been lost.
Much to my delight, the PR industry seems to be taking a very myopic view of the current state of play (as evidenced by PR Week’s coverage of the event). It fails to realise that there is a great game afoot, one that involves all of the advertising and marketing industry, that will be merciless on those that fail to adapt.
Above the line, digital, PR, direct marketing and even media agencies are converging towards the same place, and due to the rise of digital, the battle has been raging for a few years now. Up until recently, the PR industry has been relatively immune from its effects. This will not continue. Agencies of all colours are realising what the future will bring, and are making plans to adapt.
However, just as over the last ten years digital agencies stole a march on above the line agencies by building bigger, better and more motivated specialist teams, thereby innovating faster and developing a critical mass of best practise that accelerated the gap between them and their offline competitors, so conversation agencies will do the same to PR agencies (and, I have to say, to the digital and other agencies also trying to catch-up).
To use ourselves as an example, who else has a team of twelve entirely focused on innovative, creative and effective social media marketing and communications? Each day and each new hire widens the gap between us and those in pursuit.
To quote from Roger Warner’s write-up of the evening:
The people who will write the book are those who make the first convincing moves and are happy to invest and invent. We’ll be delivering best practises in beta mode whilst Big PR is watching on the sidelines.
Update: PR Week finally wakes up:
PR agencies are facing up to a growing threat from the advertising sector after the car giant this week picked MindShare to handle [...] digital PR and social media strategy.
‘The advertising industry is focusing its guns on PR budget, so our industry is def-initely at a crossroads,’ said Katy Howell, MD at Immediate Future. ‘We must step up, educate our clients and widen our reach to include marketing and digital departments.
‘If we do not, there is every likelihood that the PR industry will not exist in five years. We will become a commodity within the bigger, more powerful, media and advertising organisations.’
Update 2: Brian Solis has some further thoughts:
By now, many organizations realize that the success of their brands will be determined online. Yet other than this almost universal consensus, little else about digital has been decided. Its scope is constantly expanding and its growth potential has every marketing discipline jumping to adopt some part of digital as its own turf. “There is all kinds of competition popping up [for digital] and it’s putting a squeeze on communications professionals,” says Brian Solis, founder and president of FutureWorks, a digital PR agency. PR, ad, and direct marketing agencies are all looking to carve a niche in digital as their conventional channels become increasingly irrelevant. With traditional ad revenues decreasing in value and news outlets shuttering, the most viable avenue for future revenue is digital. But the race to capitalize on digital has pitted many of these agencies against each other, especially as the boundaries between marketing, advertising, and PR blur online.
Digital advertising and social media are quickly converging and, while PR is reaping the rewards inside this new space, how long will it be before others muscle in? Already, Beattie McGuinness Bungay, DDB and VCCP are among UK agencies fine-tuning PR and social media offerings and others will quickly follow.