Saturday, April 4, 2009

PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTITIONER = BUGGY WHIP MAKER

Want to know why public relations is dying? Practitioners fail to understand the concept behind the Baldridge Excellence award criteria, that public relations functions throughout the company.


That’s why marketing sociology has evolved. Public relations practitioners have killed the field. Most still have 20th Century thinking that PR stands for “press release.” Where you going to place those “press releases” when newspapers are failing left and right? Yesterday the New York Times threatened to close its Boston Globe paper. There’s no space in newspapers for those “press releases.”


Disney is the classic of yesterday’s public relations thinking. Try calling its television PR staff. All you get is the runaround of push this number, push that, no real person is available. An email to Radio Disney’s Salwa Scapone (Salwa.Scarpone@disney.com) remains unanswered. Maybe that’s why Disney is laying off nearly 2,000 from its theme parks and its stock is down 20 percent from five years ago.




Old thinking, and most are uncreative, public relations practitioners will kiss the butt of a 19,000 circulation paper like the Prescott Courier. Yet, when the blog-o-sphere has millions and millions of people on it, and – according to Technorati – this blogs is in the top 20 percent (perspective on that – there’s still a million in front of it, and like a dog team, the view is always the same if you aren’t the lead dog) of all blogs. The Courier is read by people in a tight knit community. According to Alexa, 10 percent of those viewing this blog are outside the U.S. – and I don’t have THAT many cousins and relatives in Buttevant, Ireland.


Public relations practitioners and others are failing to return emails. That’s the kiss of death for any organization. As blogger after blogger notes, it only takes one blogger to lead an effective campaign against an organization. People become infamous on the ”Net” for rallying against a company.


In the past few weeks, Grand Canyon’s Unversity’s Christel Mosby and Eric McHaney have “dissed” my emails. Same with Susan de Queljoe, community relations director at St. Vincent de Paul Society; Elizabeth Driscoll, public relations vice president at Go Daddy; Steve Tuttle, vice president of communications, and Nick Pappas, executive vice president of strategic communications, both at Taser International. Also, Kristen Torres, campus director of Mesa’s Pima Medical Institute, and Jay Headley, marketing director at Cigna.


How hard, and how much intelligence, would it take to return an email? I’m in touch with people from Seattle to some country in the Netherlands because I respond to emails. I am attentive to friends requests on MySpace and Twitter.


In ten years companies operating in this manner will fail to exist. Look at what President Barack Obama has done to top management at General Motors.


On the other hand, people like Peter Shankman of Help A Reporter Out (HARO) and Donna Olaguer, business manager for National Association of Music Merchandisers (NAMM.org) answer emails within minutes of receiving them, no matter what time of day and on the weekends, too. This is 21st Century thinking.


At the beginning of each century there is an upheaval. The 20th Century ushered in the industrial age. The 21st Century ushered in the “knowledge” era; which focuses on providing one-to-one communications and network building. Those who can’t answer emails, like mentioned above, are doing a disservice to the company they work for. How long can that company function in this century with those attitudes that “I’m too big” to answer an email? If their organizations usher in a Baldridge award mentality, they will be swept out.

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