Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Friday, October 12, 2007

New PR. Same As The Old PR?

Having discovered that watching a conference booth is only slightly less stultifying than having to be there, I checked out more elements of the Forrester conference.

I found a revealing summary of his keynote speech by Richard Edelman who I've applauded in the past for his long-term efforts to reappraise the role of his industry.

My central thesis is that corporations can’t buy reputation or brand loyalty any more. These are earned through performance over the long-term.

No argument with that - except that it seems to me to have been the case since the arrival of multi-channel television which has been well over a decade in most countries. But he goes on to say,

We should start at the end point--to dream about where we would like our client to be—and then create a dialogue-based communications program to get them there.

That smacks to me of the old PR he's just vilified. Your client is where your client is. They are there by dint of how they behave. PR cannot alter that location and initiatives such as getting clients to co-opt social issues reeks of greenwashing. Co-opting is easy and actually doing something is much, much harder and often conflicts with corporate strategy.

Any attempt to stamp an alternate image on the outside of a business runs the risk of not reflecting that which actually runs through it. It is a tattoo rather than DNA and, as such, can appear unattractive to the populace, is liable to date rather quickly and will be painful to remove.

2 Comments:

Anonymous richard edelman said...

John, what I was trying to say at Forrester is that PR folks should try to push their clients toward a better reality. Dialogue based communications is a pathway to better corporate behavior. Thanks

7:25 AM, October 14, 2007  
Anonymous Tom said...

Richard - are you still there ?

Do you mean a dialogue - based communications system which is part of the internal communications of the organisation, or one which is an external message ?

Because I can understand how internal communications can be used / the result of which can be to change the way you are - or refine it - or something - but if it's external then I sort of share John's cynicism...

6:44 AM, October 16, 2007  

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