I blogged right after the first of the year suggesting that 2007 might be the year of authenticity. Then I read the January issue of PR Tactics from PRSA. Editor John Elsasser (who kindly has published several articles I penned) quoted several speakers from the November PRSA conference:
Andrew Heyward, former CBS News President: “Hype and spin are going to be less effective over time in a wired world because as consumers have access to information–and they have access to as many sources as we do–as they become as powerful as they have, it’s going to be much harder to sell something if it not authentic.”
Peter Hirschberg, Chairman and Chief Marketing Officers for Technorati: “This is really a louse time to be inauthentic.”
A number of other speakers at this conference echoed the same sentiments, and according to Roy Vaughn and Steve Cody, writing in the Jan edition of PR Tactics: “The C-suite is beginning to listen.”
And you know when the C suite starts to finally sit up and take notice, the world has really changed.
It’s hard to imagine a crisis that doesn’t involve a lot of personal pain, agony and tragedy. That was brought home to me recently as I struggled with the personal pain of those involved in some reputation crises that I was involved in.
But this series of articles from PR Tactics gives an inside look at some of the personal pain endured by professional communicators during Hurricane Katrina. It’s a powerful reminder for those of us engaged in this line of work that ultiimately what we do and how we do it matters. Because it matters to the people who are truly stakeholders.
There are increasing signs that the PR community is sitting up and taking notice of the blog world. This is article from PR Tactics and Strategies online is a pretty good summary.
I share the concern of Scoble and Israel, however, in Naked Conversations. That PR world which centers around a complex process of approval and review with multiple levels of executive oversight and attorney vetting will struggle with the “right now” and “say what you mean” demands of the global online watercooler.
They will adjust, and some will do better than others no doubt. But for many it will not come easy and will seem completely counter intuitive to everything they know about how to do PR.