In the interest of keeping this very important thread alive, I wanted to offer my views.
Yes, we are connectors and we are relationship driven. Yes, there is a need to be part of the greater community, by being visible both online and in-person, at events and gatherings. But here’s the rub. There is this undertone in a lot of blogs that what PR folks do in this role is largely intelligence-free. It is true that if I had a nickel for every time in my 17 years at Horn Group I interviewed a starry-eyed professional who pronounced they “like working with people” I’d be sitting on a beach somewhere. But I’m not. Here’s the deal: to all those nay-sayers, those folks who are dare-i-say-it, too complacent and comfortable, all those jaded Doubting-Thomases, THOSE DAYS ARE GONE. Call it a call to arms, or an all hands on deck to our colleagues in PR. We need to embrace the changes seeping through our walls. The reality is, many of us have been leading the charge for some time now.
I’m on a mission to prove what this industry is capable of, and by example, what we at Horn Group are doing to get out and in front of it. There is a deep-seated passion among many of us to help evolve our profession to a completely different dimension. If you think we just sit around and wait for a client to tell us to write a press release and ask an intern to call the Journal, you are sadly mistaken. The fact is, we embrace a brand both verbally and visually. We have to. We designed 20 web sites last year that used content we created. We have to be content creators across multiple media to get the right message across to the right people. We better damn well be smart and on top of our game at those events and gatherings — because to be part of the community means we need to have something intelligent to contribute to it. Everyday we interview and hire former journalists, art directors, Java programmers, business strategists and marketing specialists to join our firm.
Are we doing PR? Yes, and no. Its just that PR has changed and taken on a much broader role as a communications discipline. In fact, with some clients, there are times when the last thing we actually talk about is PR. Now its more about how we can help our clients be “social”. But that’s the new PR of today, and the Communications business of the future. To discuss the many aspects of this topic further, we’re co-hosting a panel discussion with Girls in Tech, date TBD. I also invite you to take Dee Anna’s challenge and come spend a couple days with us. Its inspiring, its awesome, and if we don’t surprise and delight, I’ll give you a nickel.