Thursday, August 03, 2006

Don't frighten the client

I was very recently introduced to a Public Relations consultancy because the intermediary thought I knew something about the Internet and, in particular, social media. As we know the more you find out, the more you know you know nothing.

Anyway, we talked.

Now, they do use email, have used PRNewswire and have a web site. The son of one of the directors had introduced the idea of blogging to get a number of friends together to do things.

They had heard that blogs were the cool thing for PR these days.

Could I help?

Well, quoth I, some basic rules:

  • All your clients should be monitoring Social Media and extracting strategic if not specific inferences about their sector, competitors and environments.

  • 'Social Media' is not for every organisation and needs strategies behind application

  • It makes organisation much more transparent.

  • Once in, there is no going back

  • It will change the client both internally and externally

  • The consultant is just that and the only authentic voice is the voice of the client

“Oh!” said the consultant, “But you can't say that to our clients, it sounds expensive, technical and frightening.”

“Yes,” I said, “and if they are frightened by that, they will be even more frightened by the consequences of ignoring the new media.”

We parted.

Such a shame.

Nice people.

A local government authority suggested that, because it had award winning web sites and a couple of its councillors had blogs, they were doing well.

I suggested that, perhaps, they were failing their community.

They were missing the opportunities for democratisation, community decision making, attracting inward investment, tourists and a global reputation at a time when local councils were competing with both near neighbours and towns on the other side of the world. There was every need to get up to speed fast.

I offered them some thoughts on Social Media strategy along these lines.

They think the Chief Executive should have a blog - written by the PR department.

Such nice people. So earnest. So very good at PR1.0.

Pity, pity.

Where is the leadership in this profession? St Stephen’s Club perchance?

Picture: Pity Willliam Blake