Taking the pulse of PR: Dead? AGAIN??

Here we go again...

Here we go again...

Well, well well.  Couldn’t help belatedly noticing the ever interesting Tom Murphy’s raging post of linkage around the latest discussions on the ‘death of PR’.

There is a lot of interesting and not so interesting stuff out there on the blogopshere kicking this fossilised chestnut around again.  However, you must always filter for bias.  I remember going semi-incognitio to some blogging conference a couple years back where the idea of PR dying mingled with rabid, gleeful calls for it to be killed.  This revealed to me the inherent, revolutionary (and frankly naive) anti-marcomms ideology in the hearts of many of ‘Web 2.0’s leading lights.

It all seems to have started up again with Scoble making the quite human point that he preferred to have to user of something evangalise it to him than experience some irrelevance ‘pitched’ by a PR.  This seems to me as obvious as the fact I would much prefer to have a mate tell me about a product than get an unsolicited sales call about it.  The more calls of an ill informed nature I got, the more my preference for personal enthusiasm would increase.

Nonetheless, suggesting to a bunch of marcomms folk that their trade is dead or dying is like poking an ice cream covered stick in a wasps nest.  Under threat from post Clue Train markets are bad, top-down, jive talk laden marcomms mechanics in general, not the whole concept of PR (which really is just the seeking of third party brand endorsement).  Crap pitches and impersonal approaches that would not work with a half decent hack have an even worse effect on bloggers, leading the foolish to think you ‘can’t pitch to bloggers’ (as Drew B noticed).

PR may be dead in Scoble’s eyes, but he probably spends most of his days sifting through embarrassing cut-and-paste emails urging him to try everything from me-too yawnfest virtualised storage software to the latest spam filters.  Which would be a profoundly deadening experience for anyone.

That said, the Titans of the Tech blogosphere have a more limited power to move minds and markets on a macro level than we often remember.  They are important, but not in isolation.  For in isolation they are just talking to a self-selected group of ubergeekage and ‘Early Adopters’.  But in an integrated strategy, a postive post from Scoble could lead to coverage in more populist outlets, leading to more take-up and talk, etc etc etc.  Its really all about integration of media and thinking in the end…And if you can think about your trade in new ways then you are certainly not dead.


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