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.