Posted by Kailey Astor
Are you a CEO considering blogging? Pay close attention. Here's a total fiasco that could be in your future. Here's a perfect example of how a blog can hurt you by forever displaying your shortcomings regarding the very thing in which you claim to have expertise. Yikes!
Aedhmar Hynes is CEO of Text 100 International, one of the world's largest independent public relations agencies. According to her bio, "She is an active speaker and commentator on the subject of global communications and the complexity of cultural fluency when communicating across multiple markets and audiences." She's a recognized heavyweight in PR who apparently, ironically, can't write to save her own life.
The following is her most recent blog post, "Are you allowed to read the news over your neighbor's shoulder?" We asked a newspaperman to proofread her copy. Here are his remarks:
OUCH! It's hard not to question Ms. Hynes' judgment regarding communications. But on a more basic level, we are wondering if Text 100 gives writing tests to new recruits as is common practice at major PR agencies. It sure doesn't seem so.
Posted by Amanda Chapel
Word is that there's currently a personnel search being conducted for a really bad publicist. The singer Britney Spears is looking for a PR rep that ironically can put a bit of a damper on all the unwarranted attention she's gotten lately.
After parting ways with her former publicist Leslie Sloane Zelnik, Britney's been taking counsel from any-ink-is-good-ink total-media-whore Paris Hilton; And boy oh boy is she ever getting the press!! However, PR experts agree, maybe just a little too much exposure.
The right candidate will have BA in Public Relations and have worked in a major PR firm at a senior level. Strong account management skills are required. Must be facile with blogging and podcasting. PRSA accreditation and Turrets Syndrome a plus.
God, I cannot count how many people I'd personally recommend for that job. Imagine just how many resumes she'll get.
Posted by Amanda Chapel
You know at the end of an all-night poker game where the exhausted survivors start to just cut the deck for big stakes? Well, as you recall, back at the end of June we described PR's foray into Web 2.0 as being in the World Series of Texas Holdem. Then like a drunken fool, the industry was capriciously betting the farm on anarchy. Now, a box of seedy cigars, a few fifths of Jack, and a parade of hookers later... PR is down to cutting the deck. I wish. No, it's worse than that. It's a freakin' coin toss. Richard Edelman, the CEO of one of the largest agencies in the world, the other day likened the industry's present state to a "Fork in the Road." Technically, he's givin' us a 50/50 chance: heads you live, tails you die.
What the hell is Richard thinking? Apparently, he's finally coming to terms with the rising tide of abject rejection of PR on the new frontier of social networking. Ironically, there's been a mass revolt against his Me2Revolution. In his words, there's a "rebellion in the blogosphere rejecting PR-spawned material as invasive and inherently false."
Hello! We've only been ringing this alarm bell for the last six months. Apparently, Richard is now hearing it from his own:
EDELMAN'S GOT A PLAN, TRIES TO REINJECT CONFIDENCE
Excuse me but... if you've got skin in the PR game, Richard's next toss should have you somewhat anxious; that is, if you've got half a brain or have not drunk the Kool-Aid.
In either case, well, relax. He's got a plan. Besides promoting "success stories as part of our continuing effort to educate our colleagues and academia about best practices," Edelman's now calling for "credible advocacy."
Again, if you've got skin in the game, half a brain and have not drunk the Kool-Aid... if you relaxed (see above)... you probably just soiled yourself. Edelman promoting "success stories" is laughable in light of Wal-Mart, WOMMA, etc.; and PR espousing "credible advocacy" is almost pathologic.
Richard got the "credible advocacy" part from Edelman advisor David Weinberger. David is absolutely right but Richard's interpretation of what he's saying on a good day is problematic. PR as credible advocates? Please. Someone shoot me. I am begging you!
Here, by way of a little story, let me put it in perspective: I had a boss once that would get himself all worked up before a new business presentation. He would become the client. Whatever the widget, glue or cancerous effusing fuzz that prospect happen to make, he’d totally immerse himself and subsequently sell himself on the wondrous benefits of their product/service. He was no longer an "objective agent" but a "true believer." He truly became the credible advocate. Funny, at that point he didn’t care if they paid him or not.
Today, that’s quite rare. In PR, we try to think of ourselves as lawyers for cripes sake. We pride ourselves in being objective agents. As such, taking money to devise a strategy to influence a target group... is NEVER going to be appropriate in a total access - totally exposed - society. The internet is summarily rejecting PR because they/we no longer have an institution - the media - to shield from the inevitable consequence of fraud and manipulation.
PS For the record, that former boss was ultimately fired. His attitude completely pissed off the bean counters in New York.
COMMENTARY: WE QUESTION RICHARD'S LEADERSHIP
And who the hell drove us to this fork in the road? Again, there's a certain pathologic in Edelman's words.
I am reminded of the movie Pope of Greenwich Village. There's a scene where/when the dimwit Paulie gets his cousin Charlie fired from his job. In the next scene they get into a little bit of a tussle over the matter and Paulie inadvertently rips Charlie's shirt. Injury to injury, Charlie is now even more incensed. But Paulie calmly tells him "dont know why you need those fancy suits Charlie, you got no job to wear em too!"
Posted by Amanda Chapel
This week we saw the deep division that tears at the heart of the PR and Marketing Communications business. Two industry groups made simultaneous announcements that could not be more at odds. One group advocated TOTAL transparency... while the other then raced to point out "falsies."
This week the American Association of Nude Recreation (AANR) launched a campaign to encourage a new generation to visit nude and clothing-optional resorts. According to the association's PR coordinator Carolyn Hawkins "a lot of our membership is getting older. The time is right to target the Gen X demographic and introduce younger people in to see what the organization was all about."
Despite the tremendous growth within the past decade for nude recreation - today a $400 million niche within the US travel industry - Marie Kephart, senior account manager at AANR's agency Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell PR, said, "But we have to look to the future."
Outreach efforts began with resort-owner seminars. Topics ranged from amenities such as high-speed Internet connections to premium coffees, to how established Gen X nudists could serve as brand ambassadors. Phase two of the effort includes more aggressive outreach in the social media space. AANR already has an active MySpace page and is set to launch a Gen X blog that will include a series of podcasts. (Hello Shel!)
But Kephart's greatest challenge is NOT coming from any religious-right group. It's coming from Center for Media and Democracy. CMD is a non-profit, public interest organization whose mission is to strengthen participatory democracy by investigating and exposing public relations spin and propaganda.
According to CMD, "2006 was a year full of deception, manipulation, prevarication, and bald faced lies. Every day, we are up to our ankles (and sometimes higher) in the corporate spin and government propaganda that PR firms keep churning out. At the end of each year, we have the 'Falsies Awards' to recognize the people and players responsible for polluting our information environment. This year, you get to vote on the worst spinners and propagandists of 2006."
With our industry being this polarized, so wonder we are paralyzed with regard to change and reform.
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