Lunch with Some PR Agency Big Shots (And What They Had To Say)

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Earlier today, my colleagues at PRSA Chicago hosted what has become the most well-attended of the regular monthly luncheons on the schedule: The panel discussion featuring the top officer from some of the biggest agencies around.

Three very smart, successful PR professionals — Rick Murray from Edelman, Max Winer from Fleishman-Hillard and and Bill Zucker from Ketchum — shared their thoughts on social media, the evolution of PR in the communications arena, the PR “story of the year” and more.  PRSA/Chicago Board member Jack Monson moderated; he did an outstanding job of posing provocative questions tempered with dry humor.

Here’s what made it into the PRDude’s notebook.  (I used to be a real news reporter, you know.)  It’s close to “tomorrow” (otherwise known as “Wednesday”), so I’ll be brief.  Bullet points will suffice here, and I won’t attribute specific quotes or thoughts because, frankly, I didn’t take very precise notes.  There. Full disclosure.

  • Moving in the Direction: Communications Integration. PR agencies are evolving into more “complete, integrated communications firms.”  In the same vein, “the beauty of public relations is that is has the license to compete in a bunch of different spaces.”  I wholeheartedly agree with these thoughts, and would like to add this: Those of us in the corporate and/or association side of the profession — like me — have had to wear a lot of hats for a long time. That’s how we get stuff done.
  • How Loud Can You Say, “Social Media!” “If you’re not working with social media, you won’t be working for long.” Those professionals who recently entered the ranks bring a passion for social media, which is being funneled up the corporate ladder. Did you know that Edelman has a social media training program based on a martial arts “belt system?”  (Wonder if my old tae-kwon-do instructor, Mr. Yung, would approve?  Wonder if he’s on Facebook.)
  • In This Year’s News…  When asked about the top story or development in public relations, the panelists were divided on the broad and encompassing (more PR professionals getting a seat with the corporate guys and gals and more defined responsibilities from clients) to the specific: The Facebook scandal involving Burson Marsteller and the bankruptcy that put legendary media monitoring giant Video Monitoring Services out of business.  I found the discussion of the VMS closing as the most poignant: Modify your business model or you might be out of business.   (Personal note: The PRDude covered the BM “Googlegate” debacle in a previous post. )
  • And, There was Time for Questions. As in questions from the audience. Well, The PRDude took advantage of Mr. Monson’s LinkedIn request for questions.  Mine was:  “Do you subscribe to the Barcelona Principles?”  Must say, I think I caught these folks a bit off guard, as there was not a lot of commentary. What was I referring to?  Read this past post and find out.  Hint: If you’re serious about this profession and where it’s heading, I recommend you read up on the Barcelona Principles.  Hint: They have nothing to do with traveling to a cool place in Spain.  Better yet, read my thoughts.

Let me turn the tables on you: What is the biggest PR story or development to date?  Do you agree with those mentioned by the panelists?

One more thing: This is the PRDude’s 100th blog.  I hear trumpets!  I’ll offer some insight on this somewhat monumental feat next time.

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2 thoughts on “Lunch with Some PR Agency Big Shots (And What They Had To Say)

  1. Pingback: PRSA Chicago Update « Social Media Workbench

  2. Pingback: Reflections on 100-Plus Posts as The PRDude « Prdude's Blog

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