After the tragic comedy that was the #failedpitch, I had drinks with PR bad ass, Vanessa Camones. As she said over a glass of champagne, “We’re cut from the same PR cloth.” We are in sync that PR as it is known is not PR as it should be done. The name is tainted and, I’m starting to feel, beyond repair.
We commiserated about working with companies and CEO’s that just didn’t get it (thankfully, not my problem now.) How agencies are so thirsty for money during the going-to-get-worse PR recession that they’re under cutting boutiques like the ones she runs. And she knows she can do it better because she “get’s” it and they don’t.
Which is unfortunately true. But they’re trying to stay alive and businesses are naive to the true power of PR and don’t know how to use it. So they skip it to save the money and just stay afloat and not advance, like they would if Vanessa and her crew were in there.
She’s frustrated, and I don’t blame her. Firms like hers are the future. She gets the big picture. Agencies just can’t operate at this kind of nimble level. She digs deep. She and her team do BD, and hang with engineering. Write collateral and help set up their blogs and maintain social web dialogue. They talk to media and plan out long term brand strategy. That’s PR to me. Is it to you?
Sad that it’s not what the perception of PR is. Damn that P word. Perception. How about reality, people? Anyone who knows a really good PR person recognizes and respects how they move the needle throughout the entire business. But the outside world doesn’t understand that, and I don’t blame them. It’s not widely practiced or understood.
So Vanessa and I got to talking. And I asked her, “What the hell do we call it? Is it a form of relating to the public? The very utterance of PR is tainted. What is it when it’s branding, a touch of advertising, splash of product marketing, a shake of BD and then a good layer of media relations? ”
“Integrated Marketing Communications,” she said.
“That’s old school. Even that is out dated. We’re a social web now. Connecting is forevermore engrained in our culture. Do we want to be marketed to? No, we wanted to be related to. So does the term marketing even belong in the picture for this capacity? I don’t think so. (That’s more hard core lead gen: SEO, online marketing, direct marketing but even that can have a PR overlay.)
“Communicated with,” she added.
“Exactly,” I said.
She paused. “Integrated Communications.”
Integrated Communications. Hmmmm. Kinda has a ring to it. Because it’s true. It’s not PR anymore as it was originally created for. PR has been absorbed into the broader umbrella of communications (public, corporate, internal, social, customer, investor, etc.) And now that it’s starting to be woven more and more throughout the organization that does make it integrated.
I think she might be on to something. No wonder I like her so much.