At great personal (and frankly uncharacteristic) risk of getting all Kumbaya on this issue, marketers of both stripes need to realize that the best advertising people are better at telling stories and being entertaining in communication. And ad types need to recognize that solid PR practioners are better at seeding conversations, transparency and influencing influential people.
Listen up, both sides, because I am more qualified* than the average marketing blogger to say this: We are going to need BOTH sets of skills in Social Media. The boring transparency of PR is just about as effective as the flashy lies of advertising in this new space - the gold lies somewhere in between.
If PR really is waging a battle with advertising for the keys to the social media kingdom, a recent TurnPRon event on “Communication 2.0” doesn’t bode well for the addies. Text 100 VP Georg Kolb and B.L. Ochman reported some interesting (and ignorant) exchanges on Web. 2.0 at the event.
He felt his business was about ‘lying’ (his word) in an efficient way, and he wondered how PR could comply with the idea of transparency. If transparency was the maxim, then PR either shouldn't filter what is coming out of an organization or become invisible which would mean that it wouldn't be transparent. From his perspective, it's a really good question.
Kolb said that PR would have to change “from being a gatekeeper of corporate information to a facilitator of trusted relationships so as to solve the conflict… It obviously didn't occur to the questioner that the transparency maxim also presents a challenge to advertising, at least as long as you see it as the business of lying efficiently.”
The bottom line on the meeting - there is still discussion going on at high levels about whether and how PR and marketing can work together. And whether or not bloggers are journalists, or idiots. And about whether corporations should blah blah blog.
Dear New Media consultants: any time you start to think that new media is making inroads into corporate settings, think about these fossils .... er, folks.