Posted by Media Relations on Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 - 2 Comments »
“Do it Wrong Quickly: What Corporations Need from PR in Today’s Transforming Marketplace”Mike Moran begins the afternoon keynote with what is perhaps the most salient point of the whole conference. We don’t need to be the expert in new media or blogs. We need to be the expert in how to solve our client’s problems. Otherwise, we might as well give up. We’ll never be the blog expert because the blog experts exist, and they’re not getting any dumber.
Moran’s tone is optimistic, and not at all condescending, which is a refreshing change from many speakers on this topic, who seem to want to tsk-tsk us for not having discovered social networking years ago. Oh, and they are eager to inform you that whichever social media platform you have succeeded in engaging was obsolete in 1999. Moran eschews alarmism to good effect.
PR types tend to view new media as a sort of death knell for Public Relations. Moran sees them as an opportunity. The new model allows Public Relations to deliver hard results where we know we are making an impact on behalf of our clients. We can target more closely, measure results more accurately, and respond more quickly to customer feedback.
He cites the example of B2B companies, many of whom were shut out of media relations in the past, for lack of cost effective avenues. This is a perfect example. A small widget manufacturer can now afford to earn media by targeting only those people who like to buy widgets. That’s an almost entirely new market. If you’re afraid of it, and afraid of the new ways to solve problems, well, you always dreamed of opening a wine bar one day, right?
If we believe Moran (I do), new media opportunities play to our strong suit. We are story-tellers by nature, or at least we should be if we are any good at this stuff. And bloggers need stories, and so do their readers. And you need their readers. So it all works out.
He follows up this point with a disastrous example, in which bloggers discovered that Kryptonite locks could be picked by Bic pens. Company officials refused to even acknowledge bloggers, and the story festered (all the way to the New York Times).
Dell, on the other hand, responded to blogger critiques, and tailored their own corporate blog to address the complaints they introduced. Is this really anything new? Is this 2.0? Not so, says Moran. Again, I have to agree. This is simple crisis communications. It’s customer relations. It’s earned media. For us, it should be second nature.
Okay, so he engages in a bit of alarmism. The head of marketing at FTD was fired for poor search results. That’s pretty alarmist, but reasonably so. There are plenty of people who have no problem embracing the new paradigm, so why wouldn’t companies find them?
But change is hard. Why is that so? According to Moran, it is because change requires sacrifice. There are only so many hours in a day, and choosing to pursue social media means TAKING TIME AWAY from that which has been our bread and butter. Outreach to a blogger means a trade journal might not get a phone call. An act as simple as registering for Twitter means you won’t have time to do something else.
But, like Duncan Wardle, Moran tasks PR professionals with figuring it out. This is our job. We don’t get paid to be comfortable. We get paid to be good. So let’s be good, okay?
Read Lee’s coverage of the Mike Moran Keynote over at Online Marketing Blog