PR’s nightmare

Brian and I had an interesting discussion over IM last Friday about whether or not all PR campaigns/ products launches should incorporate some form of social / new media.

We think, perhaps not.

Don’t misunderstand my point, I totally love the new media / the Internet and this blog is set up with the aim to explore and learn more about how the new and social media work and how they affect communications and how to integrate as part of marketing strategy

And this is what I believe …There is absolutely no need to insist on including a “new media” component (very typical nowadays) in PR briefs or to insist that some bloggers be invited to your PR events or to create some form of facebook group to get “social” with the people etc. I believe that when your campaign is carefully thought out, focusing on finding the best communications channel to meet your objectives, the rest will fall in place. If you have created something newsworthy, news coverage will happen. Communications and conversations with your target media – new or old as well as target audience (or people that matters to your brand) – online or offline will happen.

If anyone is reading my twitter/ del.icio.us stuff, I’ve been reading and saving links that are related to new/ social media. I am looking for case studies, some HOW TO. Enough of the WHAT AREs.

I think I get the parts where alot of “experts” are saying, “PR people should send new media pitches in this and that way, PR people should understand the importance of social media – it’s all about the PEOPLE, not the audience (uh?? if the people are not my target audience, I wouldn’t bother talking to them actually) and of course about the “stupid PR people should be banned and have their names and email addresses listed in public blogs to be ridicule etc etc…”

I get those. I understand what they are saying…

What I am hoping to find out are some really good “how tos?” Some great social/ new media case studies and I am really looking for NON- IT/ tech/ gadgets / Web related campaigns, I am looking for those where the target audiences of the brand/ products are not spending that much time reading the Techcrunch/ CNET or maybe not even New York Times and don’t know what Facebook is?

What if my “target people” of the brand are the socialities and the rich tai tais who spend most of their time shopping, flipping lifestyle magazine titles while doing their $600 hairdo, and I am trying to sell them a new croc skin handbag brand? How about if my brand targets older aunties and uncles who are not savvy enough to even read the local online newspapers?

How do I then incorporate the “social/ new media” elements into a consumer PR campaign to get these PEOPLE? OR, is it even necessary to use any of those new tools just to show that you are savvy in the new media?

I often hear about, “how companies need to use social and new media to share information OR risk falling into obscurity.”

Clients, brands, PR people are panicking and eager to jump onto the bandwagon but am I wrong to think that at the end of the day, it’s about finding the right communication/ conversation/ interaction channel to (1) get a message across (2) get a feedback to and from the people – the fundamental of PR, the basic of communications.

Understanding and using the tools in our new media toolkit is one important thing (I agree) but blindly trying to applying them to every other campaign we work on… that, to me is just letting tools control you and not you, utilizing them.

The conversations that drive and define Social Media require a genuine and participatory approach. Just because you have the latest tools to reach people, or have played around with them, doesn’t mean you can throw the same old marketing at them. And, it doesn’t qualify you to attempt to do so without first thinking about why and how, as it relates to the people you’re trying to reach..

I totally agree with what Brian Solis wrote. Even in Facebook, I find that creators of events and groups simply mass spam their “friends’ list” with invites to events that are totally irrelevant to the friend. I am really NOT interested in a programming/ coding event where programmers and tech engineers meet to discuss codes, neither do I want to join the group that talks about and attend football games, so stop spamming me on my social networks.

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15 thoughts on “PR’s nightmare

  1. Bravo bravo! Well written and I totally agree with you. While I am as much a purveyor of social media as you are, I also firmly believe that different products/services for different target audiences require different PR approaches.

    From my experience with Yesterday.sg, it is clear that just having a blog/facebook acct/twitter/Jaiku/youtube/whatever isn’t going to save the day if you don’t have:

    1) A clear and coherent community engagement strategy

    2) Great content that matters to your target groups

    3) A strong offline presence to synergize with what you are doing online

    4) Customers who will bother to spend time surfing your blog/listening to your podcasts/viewing your youtubes.

    We can be so fixated with the tools that we forget about the quality of the content and relationships, which matter most in social media. And of course, despite what all the doomsday prophets are saying, mainstream media still rules.

  2. Walter, great points! We have to catch up over coffee soon.

    You read the book “the fall of advertising and the rise of PR” ? Am not surprised to see “the fall of PR and the rise of social media!” soon. heh

    Mainstream media is definitely still ruling! Even for big internet/ tech brands, how often are they saying “for PR ROIs, we want to see coverage in Facebook/ so-and so- bloggers’ post?” No, in local context, it’ll always be ” why isn’t there a ST story???!!!!”

  3. Isn’t it simply a case of “appropriateness”?

    From finding the right tool, to working it just right, no more no less.

    The uninitiated are easily seduced by the new replacing the old, when mainstream media, new media and social media are merely different channels.

  4. hi priscilla! you touched on a topic which is extremely close to my heart, and which is what my new startup is working on. Not exactly PR, but really aiming at solving the relevancy/interest problem that plagues current social networks.

    Chat more when i am back

  5. Great post. Doesn’t this just highlight that social media and PR are interlinked.

    Maybe all organisations need to consider is a new way to channel PR strategies. If they use PR agencies, ensure that they are completely on-game when it comes to social (so many aren’t)

    • HI richclark,

      you are right about the PR agencies. Somehow, may see the traditional PR and the new media part as separate entities.

      Since I moved from agency to in-house, and have been working with various agencies that claimed to have “new media department” but I noticed that the PR team who are working on my account don’t quite know the new media parts, and the new media team doesn’t quite understand PR strategies.

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