Friday, March 03, 2006

Random Thoughts at New Communications Forum

Sitting here today, as I came down on Caltrain (pretty fast ride) to do a podcast with Brian Oberkirch with other PR bloggers, and then sit and attend today.

The other PR (and not PR) bloggers were: Josh Hallett, Shel Israel, David Parmet, Mike Manuel and sickly Phil Gomes. And, joining us toward the end was Evelyn Rodriguez.

It was a good roundtable on the good and bad of PR and blogging, and where we all see the industry going. I gave the boombastic comments, naturally, but we were all in agreement that it's about social networks ...

Which lead to Charlene Li's keynote address was about social networks, and how the industry is changing for marketing and public relations to social networks. We don't control anything - not that marketing and PR really has controlled much - but that it's about giving up control. It's the new tools out there that are helping change things - it's email, instant messaging, RSS feeds (which can be more important than a blog itself), a blog. And, not all tools are the right fits, and depends on the kind of relationship you want to build. You want to speak to consumers, you can blog. You want the consumer to speak to you, you build online forums.

In the end, the new paradigm is about letting the consumer drive the brand. For good companies, that is not a problem. For bad companies - or companies that have major detractors - this could be bad. That's the risk companies need to take to grow the enthusiast base, and possibly convert the detractors.
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