PR in Today’s New Marketing Milieu

I’m in the afternoon sessions at Media Relations 2008, for a presentation by Dr. Georg Kolb (formerly of Text 100) and Frank Shaw from Waggener Edstrom Worldwide.

Update: Here is Georg’s presentation from

Georg sees three major trends contributing to creation of what he calls “New Publics.”

  • Individualism – on the societal level, we today don’t believe as much in institutions as our ancestors did. Instead of the stability of family and extended families, he says, “we’re a mess.” Living all over the place. Patchwork families. Today we build trust by talking to people like ourselves. Instead of just taking the word of our personal physician as our grandparents would, we may also get second and third opinions, and also opinions of other patients.
  • P2P Networks – Peer-to-peer networks exist now through technology to make it practical for us to find and connect with people like us.
  • Niche Markets – A super-fragmented marketplace of groups of peer networks.

Georg talked about how much discussion is happening outside the mainstream media dialogue. For example, you may have an employee group organized within Facebook. This is a sphere of influence you need to learn to navigate. Georg says four basic principles should help:

  1. Map it out! You need to understand what’s going on and what people are saying about you or your
  2. Explore! Have a much more open mind to experiments, understanding that experiments can fail. Just try it out. The experiments are cheap and easy.
  3. Respect natives! These are empowered individuals who can organize against you if you are not respecting them.
  4. Find India! Keep focus on what you’re trying to do. Don’t get sidetracked from finding the trade route to India. This is not an end in itself.

For mapping it out, take advantage of the free tools like Google Analytics, Technorati, Blogpulse, etc.

Exploring means you should plan to use video in your next campaign. For example, qik can make video from mobile phones public on the web instantly. Check out Microsoft’s Photosynth, which was featured in today’s New York Times.

Respecting the natives means people aren’t just audiences; Georg believes building trust about who owns what data will dominate the discussion in 2008. People have the ability to block out brands that they perceive as not acting honorably. Georg closed with video that is a parody of this one. It was really funny:


Frank Shaw says we are not facing a revolution as much as a period of rapidly accelerated evolution.

Audiences – This is an opportunity for more direct engagement, and you can join and learn from the conversations.

Storytelling – we have the opportunity to tell richer stories than ever before

Influencers – seek out the new while understanding that mainstream media are still extremely important

Platforms – Embrace the targeted nature of social networks.

Measurement – Gain greater insight and measure impact based on business goals.

The new tools of the trade:

  • Use SEO to support PR campaigns
  • Viral videos – what has changed is how easy it is to do now. The cost of failure isn’t great.
  • Social Networks
  • Social Media Press Release
  • Mobile & Microblogging
  • Apps & Widgets
  • User-Generated Content
  • Shareable/Embeddable Media
  • Social Bookmarking
  • Team Blogging

Frank described the experience of what they have done for Microsoft with the Consumer Electronics Show. Another fun campaign they did was for Windows Server 2008, The Lone Server. Here’s that video:

Frank stressed that in this accelerated evolution we have opportunities to track sources of influence, to create valuable experiences for audiences, and to sustain the core values of relationships, conversations and influence.

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

2 thoughts on “PR in Today’s New Marketing Milieu”

  1. Thanks for this speedy snapshot of our session, Lee! I will put up the presentation on SlideShare tomorrow.

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