Yes PR is Changing – Get Used to It – It’s About Dialog + Collaboration = Transactions

There have been a number of posts today about the role of PR.  Some are saying that PR is dead.  I don’t think so.  I think PR is changing.

What is changing is the process of PR.  I mean the business process and the benefits of new strategies and tactics.  For example from this blog I can effectively monitor and have conversations that impact others – opinion leaders, subject matter experts, and mainstream press.   Hell why even hire a firm just sponsor a blogger.  Some bloggers are better than PR firms because they cut through the cutter to talk directly with their audience. Getting access to that audience is key rather than the standard PR tactic to manipulate the audience.  Just go direct.  Audiences are smart so trying to do a head fake on them will only hurt the brand and reputation of the company.  Bloggers offer a direct business model for PR firms.   For instance, if a company in tech wants access they can just sponsor my blog ($5k a month) and I can (in most cases) do more than a PR firm can do for them.

I’ve posted many times that what makes effective PR in the classic sense is becoming obsolete.  The new PR is a combination of automated and algorithmic social media.

There are many examples of this.  PR Firms are traditionally hired to monitor and represent companies.  Now companies and do that on their own or for alot less.  However, high impact PR 2.0 is more than about pitching and buzz it’s about relating to the public – hence public relations.  It’s about communications and collaboration.

Old way:  communicate out + no dialog (of offline dialog) = broadcast model (outdates and not compatible with the way the net is built)

New way:  communication out – a dialog or conversation + collaboration = opinion shaping or some sort of transaction (sales, influence, reputation, business deal, ..etc)

PR is becoming more about automation and a audience marketplace – the results are manufactured by PR firms but the market of users (a PR marketplace).  Call it conversational marketing or whatever but it’s different and PR is changing

PR 2.0 = communication + dialog + collaboration


Social Advertising About to Boom – In Growth Not Bubble Pop.

While I talked about Social Media being misunderstood, the real dollars will be in online web video advertising.  Seems pretty straight forward – the web delivers and is measurable.  Connecting the dots you can see that advertising is changing which basically means the users are changing.  User behavior is alway leading advertiser behavior change.  Except video advertising will be done in a new way.

Report out today shows that Professionally-produced Web programming yields high CPMs, according to a new report from the Diffusion Group. The CPMs for long-form online content are $40 today and will reach nearly $46 in 2013. Meanwhile, CPMs for short clips are clocking in at about $30 and will increase to about $34 in five years.

User-generated videos generate CPMs of about $15 today and will reach $17 in 2013. The report also found that user-generated videos account for about half of the online videos consumers watch but only 4% of online video ad revenue. Meanwhile, professionally-produced videos command the other 96% of Web video dollars. Advertising in Web video should reach $590 million this year and hit $10 billion in 2013.

YouTube is slowing figuring this out.   The key to success is to evove with the market not force it.  I’m long on YouTube.  They are the ‘next new network’.

Video works on the web and soon advertisers will figure out how to do it.  Right now they are failing.  Prerolls are the only game in town so we’re stuck with it for now.

Why Current Social Media is Crashing – Traditional Advertising Doesn’t Listen – Doesn’t Work For Social Media

In a post by Paul Daigle called the Net Effect. He talks about how advertising doesn’t work in social media because traditional advertising doesn’t listen it only talks.

I think that this is a wake up call for all the Social Media executive out there and C-level executives trying to understand social media. Social media a half ‘Groundswell” (book written by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff) and half “Book to be announced” (not yet published – Peter Drucker like book). The business process improvement aspect of social media – the impact to organizations in how they organize, talk to prospects, and customers. More importantly how companies compete.. words like ROI, finacial impact, leverage, revenue per employee, benchmarking, customer service, and business intelligence will trump words like engagement, conversations, storytelling, blogs, podcasting, viral branding.

Rather than me going on again and banging the drum about my view I’ll let Paul say it and he puts it in a business light.

Paul writes..

“Every week a new article seems to redefine what social media means for brand advertisers. This communicates, accurately I think, that the advertising and media industries are still working to understand how they can best help their clients capitalize on the new social media opportunity.” …

“Advertising doesn’t know how to listen. It only knows how to talk. So talking with advertising people about social communities is like telling an accounting department how you can increase sales. Sure, you can run traditional ad campaigns within social settings, but the real opportunities being advanced are not advertising… but communication opportunities. This misalignment between the goals of marketing decision makers and opportunities being offered is why many companies are moving so slowing, and acting so suspiciously of social media.”….

“Advertising isn’t going to go away, and it isn’t going to change. Nor should it. Advertising, as we know it, will remain an important way to build brand and drive sales. But developing social strategies and advertising strategies are completely different vocations. I don’t believe marketing or advertising departments are where tomorrow’s corporate social initiative will reside.”

“In order for companies to succeed socially, they will have to restructure to become social entities. It will happen, but it will take time. Helping companies understand where their social assets lie and how to synthesize these assets to create modern CRM departments maybe the answer. These new departments would strive to manage the ear, face and personality of the business, and help the company engage socially to win. In the real world, when we represent our companies at social events we do so knowing who we are, why we are there, who we are speaking with, and what we’d like to accomplish. We know that our success requires that we engage the room in conversation and that we listen.”

Social Media Czars in Demand – Big Brands Need Help

Social media is in high demand. Don’t ask me (I’m baised of course) just read Brian Morrissey’s story in adweek. Brian has been wandering the social media woods for a while picking up the trends in what it all means. Bottom line: Big brands need direction and fast.

I’ve been consulting for some big brands over the past year since I left PodTech. It certainly is exciting. Some big changes happening around advertising not just PR. Online advertising will be more like TV ads but with keyword like measurement. The best of both worlds. I’ve uncovered some interesting success formulas for social media that I’ll be talking about soon, but for now I think Brian’s article hits a big point home…Big brands need to get busy and put the organizations in place.

Here are some gems from Brian’s story.

“They needed an internal evangelist, someone who can work within the company to bring all the disparate groups together..
The hiring of dedicated teams reflect the rising importance of social media in companies. Once thought of as an interesting new media channel, social media is increasingly seen as a catalyst for changing how companies operate. It points to a new corporate structure that favors open over closed, dialogue over monologue, and decentralized power over command and control.

“The biggest challenge is moving away from thinking about it as marketing and PR,” said Peter Kim, a Forrester Research analyst. “It’s about product development, it’s about IT. It’s got to cut across all functions of the company.”

Social-media experts are in high demand as companies attempt to figure out how to adapt how they talk to customers and even among themselves. Companies like Ford, Intel, Dell and Pepsi have concluded the best way to change is by bringing in a social-media czar to lead their strategy.

Brand Advertising Social Media Trend: YouTube Needs the Advertisers to Catchup – Don’t Do PreRolls

What’s an example of Social Media? Make something social and sharable. Gatorade has a success on their hands. It’s not to the level of Coke Mentos but it’s close.

There has been talk about the opportunity for brand marketers to connect with users of a new generation. Also, YouTube got slammed by a Wall Street Journal article on their lack of monetization. The problem is that brand marketing will be done differently. Here is the Gatorade commercial on YouTube. It’s not a commercial but a piece of content created for the community. As I have been saying on this blog for a year “Content is the Ad”. Wall Street Journal is missing the point and if YouTube does pre-roll then they will lose users fast.

YouTube should continue to serve users by providing a great user experience and let the advertisers innovate – not the other way around. Hey Chad Hurley: Don’t do prerolls! Let the advertisers innovate on the copy strategies that work for YouTube and don’t change YouTube for what is a behind the times advertising market. This Gatorade ad is a great example. Companies like Intel should do this rather than doing those boring NPR sounding videos. Brand marketing is about respecting the audience and delivering content that they will enjoy and find valuable – not a marketing piece.

What’s interesting is that this Gatorade video has millions of impressions over multiple users reposting it. The penetration is amazing.

The big deal is that this isn’t some boring product specific video talking about Gatorade. It’s a product placement ad that speaks directly to the Gatorade demographic. Was it successful – sure thing. It connected with their audience in a mode that they enjoy. It’s respectful and not a overproduced in your face Gatorade ad – like on ESPN.

Here’s the ad look for the product placement. Gatorade gets the benefit by not mentioning Gatorade. This trend will continue.

Social Media Alert – Ding Ding

This is a great blog post by Joe Marchese of Mediapost.

This is so spot on that it is worthy of a reprint in full here see below. Epic post from Joe Marchese of Online Spin blog at Mediapost. This is a very timely post and very right on the money. Great blog reporting. Thanks Joe. I fully endorse Joe’s view. Here here..

Traveling during the last 10 days, I have had 26 meetings and two speaking engagements. I have had some amazingly insightful conversations with some of the smartest people about the social media challenge and opportunity, from the media agency, creative agency, marketer, and publisher perspective. One theme kept popping up: It’s not that media shops, creative agencies and marketers don’t see the potential of social media, it’s that agencies, in their traditional role, have developed an organization that does not support the proper activation of social media for brands.

Put simply, Madison Avenue wasn’t built to service brands in social media and, more importantly, Madison Avenue is not built to make money from the proper activation of social media for brands. The question is, can the system adapt, or will a new breed of agency be born in the vacuum of effective social media campaigns? Evolution or revolution? I have seen evidence of both.

Activating a brand in social media delivers a variety of benefits. Social media’s conversational nature means that a campaign can deliver a lot more than simply message distribution. Social media can give a voice to a brand’s customers (or those a brand would love to have as customers).

The effective social media agency will:

Be a long-term partner. There are no “campaigns.” People will continue a conversation even though the calendar says you should be moving into a new campaign. Starting and stopping social media campaigns is guaranteed to waste resources and have very poor ROI. All the effort goes into building the social media conversation, and the positive ROI is really achieved once all you have to do maintain the conversation (which requires a lot fewer resources). For this reason, agencies effective in social media will look at multi-year engagements; rather than start and stop social media campaigns, they will work to help direct the conversation to achieve a brand’s goals. As Adam Broitman of Morpheus Media said on my panel: “you shouldn’t think in terms of running a social media ‘campaign,’ but instead think in terms of making a social media ‘commitment.'”

Provide product feedback. Your social media supporters are your customers as well. A social media campaign, therefore, will allow an effective agency to deliver very pointed feedback directly to a brand’s product team.

Provide message feedback to creative. Stuart Elliott of The New York Times, one of the people I had the pleasure of sitting with over the past 10 days, made the observation that when television was first introduced, advertising was having people stand in front of a microphone reading off a script about a product (like radio). It dawned on the industry that this new medium meant that new methods of advertising were possible — and that they should capitalize on TV’s unique picture and motion qualities.

You can’t predefine your creative in social media, because it is a conversation. To predefine your creative would be like entering a conversation with a script, and no matter what the other person says, continuing to stick to your script. You might as well be standing in front of a microphone reading a product description. What a brand’s social media activation partner will do is to make sure that people’s feedback is properly distributed to the creative teams so that they can iterate on the creative elements. For more on how this is developing, read Brain Morrissey’s recent Adweek piece, “Shops Strive for a New Formula.”

Achieve social media message distribution. Of course, the effective social media agency will be able to measure and enhance the amount of distribution, or people sharing and talking about your brand. Rather than simply buying the media, a social media agency will know the various levers it can pull to help distribution — i.e., more creative assets, games, etc., to create involvement.

Measure the ROI of brand campaigns (both inside and outside of social media). Social media is made up of people who buy brands — and who frequently talk about what they do and don’t like. Thus there is the ability to measure the effectiveness not only of your online social media efforts, but all of your various marketing efforts. It’s up to the right agency partner to pull this all together for a brand.

An agency’s new role in social media will be to maintain a brand’s presence and extract various benefits that a brand should receive from making a social media commitment. To do this will require redefining the media agency’s role. It will be far more consultative. It will interface with more facets of a client’s organization. Tapping into all the ways an effective social media agency can deliver value to marketers, will set apart this new breed of agency. The skills required to coordinate effective social media management will command the margins required to support Madison Avenue.

Jeremiah Owyang Blog Turns 2 Years Old – He Shares His Secrets

Congrats to Jeremiah who’s blog turns 2 today. I hired Jeremiah when I was running PodTech because of his ability but also his vision.  My wife Linda and I value Jeremiah’s friendship since we both left PodTech.

Why I think Jeremiah is doing great work.  He practices what he preaches.  He’s pragmatic but tries new stuff.  Most importanly he shares, innovates, and listens.  At PodTech many thought Jermemiah shouldn’t be  blogging.  I stood my ground and supported Jeremiah because he was doing it right.  He supported my vision while others didn’t agree (I can’t wait to write the case study post on what really happened at PodTech).  I’m sure folks even at Forrester might say that Jeremiah is giving away valuable research that could be monetized…Sure thats and position someone can take, but I submit that Forrester will sell more research at higher prices by keeping the blogging going.. it build a community.  Congrats Jeremiah.

Here are some of his secrets.

Created focused content

Publish frequently

Think of readers first


“Productized” content

Have Passion