Dick Edelman forecasts for 2008


Edelman blogs about his predictions for PR for the upcoming year. I’ll jump to the point I found most interesting:

The digital aspect of public relations will continue to develop apace, but we need to focus on those aspects of Web 2.0 where we have comparative advantage. Ideas with a public service element, facilitating dialogue with third parties, creating authoritative content linked to credible primary sources, and campaigns asking for stakeholder expertise and experience are the sweet spot. We can compete with digital firms and ad agencies but let’s do it from strength. Let’s also recognize that our biggest job is to convert our account staff into Web 2.0 players, to assure that they are sufficiently broad in their reading/viewing habits, incorporating video content into their work and committed to transparency and quality in content provided to the community. PR is a true growth industry because we rely on dialogue, shareholder engagement and relationships, but only if we truly embrace digital.

First off, how about we start 2008 on the right foot by NEVER EVER AGAIN referring to anything as “Web 2.0” It’s vague and it tries too hard to be buzzy. Have we already forgotten how ridiculous it felt to say “Y2K” or “Generation Y” a few years ago?

Secondly, I have to disagree with Mr. Edelman’s assessment of PR’s ability to compete with digital and ad shops. I think the best way to compete on the Internet (whether you’re talking viral videos, podcast production or other new digital properties) is to integrate marketing/advertising/public relations strategies. Finding influential blogs to pitch to is nice and good but product communications is going to fall behind unless they embrace… oh god, I’m going to say it… synergy.

Clients are going to want to see integrated campaign pitches because it hedges their bets against an emerging platform that (despite a “social media” agency or department sprouting up weekly) no one really understands yet.

Competing from isolation is not competing from strength.


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