David Hargreaves

Reflections on the reinvention of the PR industry

So Who Are the Real Experts?

Last week we completed the second of a couple of pitches for social media work where we were pitching against an eclectic mix of agencies; some PR, some digital and some more known for their measurement services. The decision makers were similarly from varying backgrounds. Some were from the web team, others from the PR team and some from the social media team. 

The whole process of putting together the presentation was fascinating because we suspected that the digital agencies would pitch ‘building a shiny object’ on the basis that “if we build it, they will come”; the competing PR agency would pitch engagement with existing audiences in existing channels; and the measurement company would probably do loads of data analysis up front and at the end, but were unsure what they would do in the middle.

What struck me more than anything during the process was that it was a futile exercise arguing the rights and wrongs of the different approaches because a successful campaign will probably comprise all three elements which is why we are seeing so much change in the overall agency landscape right now. Last week saw another raft of announcement as Voce acquired a web firm.

In going through this process, what occurred to me is that there are an awful lot of people claiming to be social media experts (very eloquently argued here by Brian Solis), but the real experts in my mind are the ones that are communications experts who can transcend channels and disciplines. Having a social media expert who understands how to use Twitter or Facebook is a bit like having an expert who understands how to use the telephone (you get my point – it is just a channel). However, a communications expert that understands how to use the power of multiple channels (both old and new) in tandem is really valuable.

And the result of the pitch? I don’t know yet. But it did have me leaving the room thinking…I wonder what background the social media experts were from? Are the real social media experts not the ones who are the real communications experts?

 

*Also on Bitemarks

Filed under: Communications, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter, , , , , ,

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