Symon Says

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PR, the Internet, and Synergy

Let’s think for a moment on how the Internet has specifically effected public relations. Not peripheral ways, but directly. Has it been a great deal, I would argue not. No more than placing the contents of a blue folder into a red folder. In fact, the Internet has only begun to show the kind of potential that is going to truly change and globalize the world. Soon, the Internet will not serve just as a faster way to transmit information, soon, what we call information is going to be entirely different.

So lets take that blue folder, inside, there are press releases, fact sheets, contact information, a brochure maybe a few pictures, and this is the bundle the media typically receives. Whether by mail, fax, the net, or what have you, the method of delivery does not change the nature of the information, and more importantly, it really doesn’t drastically change the effectiveness of the information either, which is a problem.

Now lets fast-forward a bit, we take that same blue folder, but now inside our folder is not just press releases, fact sheets and the usual suspects, now we have a virtual tour of our building with interactive interviews with senior management. Perhaps our press release is in video format now, included with a plethora of pictures related to our release, maybe there is a PR professional available for real-time chat with the journalist 24-7. Suddenly, we aren’t dealing with that same blue folder anymore, in fact, its not a folder at all anymore, what it is, is synergy.

In college, did it every strike you how similar certain disciplines were? Aren’t advertisers just paying for a favorable media presence that they designed? Aren’t PR practitioners really just advertising to journalist? And aren’t we all just marketing our companies in the global marketplace? While I’m sure my college professors would be quick to point out the differences, there is a mark of truth in this.

Therefore a time of melding is coming upon us. Where typically separate disciplines will have their territorial lines blurred, and where an emphasis on displaying one face to the public becomes paramount. And all of this happens because of the Internet. Without it, PR would still be faxing releases, Advert would still be designing copy for newspapers, and the two would rarely meet. Despite their different intended audiences, in a few years you may be asking yourself, “Am I still using the blue folder?”

April 14, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Future Is A Dirty One For PR

Public relations is a profession that is in a constant state of evolution. From the strictly promotional days of P.T. Barnum, to the multi-faceted global companies like Edelman, the craft has gained in both importance, and in responsibility. However, what can we expect for public relations in the future, and how will it continue to change?

I believe an old idea will begin to take hold among PR practitioners. You see, all students of public relations are taught to be scrupulous, truthful, and moral. However, the reality of this endeavor is increasing unlikely. The truth is clients want favorable representation, no matter if they deserve it. If all practitioners only represented those persons who were the epitome of moral righteousness, there would be an enormous void left for those who are not. And where there is a void, someone will surely be there to fill it.

There is an analogy here that is very fitting. PR practitioners are not unlike bodyguards. A bodyguard protects his client from bodily harm, not matter what. Similarly a PR practitioner’s duty is to provide an advantageous media environment for his/her’s client. But no matter what? I think yes, and increasingly the trend is to do just that.

The simple fact is, that while text books teach young PR students that the world they are soon to join is one with rules, and ideals, the unfortunate truth is that while those rules and ideals exist, they are little more than a theme song, a theme song that holds little weight when the time comes to act. Students are not oblivious to this fact.

I believe this trend will continue to increase for another important reason. Globalization is rapidly bringing more competition in from overseas. These foreign PR firms will not even attempt to hold themselves to some idealistic battle cry, but rather, they will pick up any scraps the American companies are unwilling to take.

As the media becomes more capable, more intrusive, and attempts to sensationalize stories even more, those on the other side of the table will have to rise to the occasion, or perhaps sink. ΣΣ

March 12, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Silencing the Ruckus?

 For sometime now, college students have had an alternative method of obtaining the latest music, (other than the usual illegally pirating from limewire).Ruckus hit college campuses like a storm, spreading mostly by word of mouth, and the occasional newspaper spot. Ruckus was amazing, it gave unlimited free access to millions of music titles, and allowed that holy demographic (18-25) exclusive access. It is user friendly, customizable, and full of great titles, but more importantly, students are using it.It must be said, that Ruckus is not without its faults. The titles you download from Ruckus can only be played on the Ruckus music player on your computer, and cannot be transferred your Ipod. I cannot stress how detrimental that is to the success of Ruckus, or perhaps I can… If Ruckus tracks were able to be played on an mp3 player it would single handedly dominate the market and put an end to music pirating all together, there I said it. But is that even possible? Now in defense of Ruckus, there are forces outside of their control that prevent them allowing their tracks to play on mp3 players, namely Apple Inc., who is having marginal success with their on-line music store, in which customers are actually paying 99 cents a song to be able to play the tracks wherever they please. So what does this mean for Ruckus?Unfortunately, a message running on the Ruckus website says that unless one million new users begin using Ruckus, the website will be forced to shut down. If their advertisements aren’t reaching enough people, the advertisers have threatened to pull out.  And who is the real loser in all of this?Not Ruckus.The real loser is the record companies who are once again going to have a large population again illegally downloading music. Ruckus paid the record companies from the advertising revenue generated by the site, but without Ruckus, its back to the hallowed halls of limewire for many students. But perhaps there is a larger lesson to be learned by Ruckus.Water will always flow in the path of least resistance.For the record company, that means that people will always obtain music by the cheapest avenue possible, especially if that avenue is Free St.. So in reality, if Ruckus shuts down, the real loser is the ailing record companies, because if it shuts down… Here we come again… we’re hungry for music, and in the on-line universe, there are plenty of free buffets.

March 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How To Decide What To Do With Your Life. In Five Easy Steps!

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February 27, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment