Brain suggested that what you do and say online is more than just social interaction. It’s part of your resume. He said the toughest part of his job (in charge of 1,000 staffers in 19 countries) is finding good employees and he gave props to social media for giving the firm “the ability to spot talent and people who ‘get it’ by what they say and do online.”
And what has social media meant for PR? Opportunity. Brain took a few good shots at ad agencies for peddling “false certainties” and an out-of-touch mentality, as well as the advertising agency conglomerate-model of operation.
On whether social media and the new communications landscape can be a boost for the PR industry, Brain said:
“So much advertising, direct marketing and promotion (and some PR to be fair) is a one-way street and that just does not fit the world I see around me. PR, or good PR at least, was always about things like relationship, influence and dialogue (in the old days focused more on the elite few maybe, but now with the many as well) and so PR now has an even more central role in helping companies align with stakeholders and customers by properly engaging with them.”
He also criticized the conglomerate model because he said PR pros could never point out the limitations of advertising while working in the walls of, say, Interpublic. He also noted that without outside shareholders, Edelman can re-invest in intellectual property like research and training.