By GG Johnston
President & COO, JohnstonWells
The moment of great equalization
More firms will be looking to their younger staffers to help lead the way. This signals a break with the historic leadership trend among firms. Their ease and comfort with technology will enable young professionals to contribute to the growth (and in some cases “survival”) of their companies. While the relationships cultivated between long-time PR pros and their media contacts are still of great value, there will be a greater importance placed on authentic online communication – something that young professionals tend to exhibit naturally.
This is unprecedented and some long-time professionals may bristle at the implication that they have anything to learn from new grads and twenty-somethings. The more open-minded will learn all they can, while the closed-minded will contribute less and less.
Bottom line is the bottom line
Public relations professionals have been challenged through the ages to prove the worth of their work. Most of us left behind quantifying the value of what we deliver in ad equivalencies a while ago. That’s a good thing since ad budgets are shrinking as consumers DVR, surf and cherry pick their information from the places they like best—rather than the places they used to be held captive. The new metrics of relationships will find a place on the balance sheet but only after the balance sheet is part of the PR pros everyday vernacular. There’s too much at stake in a tough economy for businesses not to demand financial prowess from their public relations counsel.
No faking allowed. Authenticity rules.
The debate will rage on about whether or not PR firms can participate in online conversations on behalf of their clients. Would we call and pretend to actually be our clients in one-on-one conversations on the phone? No, certainly not. So, why would we pretend to actually be our clients on blogs, micro-blogs and forums? The answer is, we wouldn’t. The question is, who would? I predict there will be a heightened focus on the particulars of this conversation as some try to find loopholes that create revenue-producing opportunities to “be” a company. Tsk, tsk. We’ve worked so hard to get rid of “spin” and “flack.” Let’s not go there AGAIN!