These are exciting times for public relations. Gone are the days of press releases and media stunts - thank goodness.
Today good public relations is about finding ways to relate to people one to one and engage them in the issues and activities that matter to them.
I wrote about this incredible project several weeks ago and now the videos to end child hunger by 2015 have been produced. This one gets my early vote although all the ones I have watched thus far are powerful. See the rest here.
People are hungry down the street and on the other side of the world. Donate to your community food bank now and next month and the month after that. No child should go hungry.
One of my colleagues at Barkley, Jeff Risley, wrote this piece for our weekly email newsletter. He suggests correctly that Mr. Bernays may not recognize the profession of public relations today.
The fact is that public relations today is remarkably different than it was 25 years ago when I first crossed the line from broadcast journalist to gubernatorial press secretary and eventually to public relations professional. We could hang all the changes on the hook of technology, but honestly that would be a cop out. Technology has hastened the changes we see today in our profession, but that isn't the real change.
The real change today is the recognition that people are no longer simply consumers of information. They are using information to determine how best to engage in their world today. They see through any attempt to manipulate information to persuade them to take action. Television and radio advertising are today more forms of entertainment than they are movers of products and services. And that isn't a bad thing. Many times today, the commercials are more entertaining than the programming they sponsor.
We still love to open our mail, but we throw away that which doesn't catch our attention on the outside of the envelope. We are bombarded with commercial messages when we turn our computers on each day. Again, they entertain us and that can be a good thing.
So we are left to figure out how to get a simple and effective message out to those pesky consumers. Old fashioned media relations is not the answer any longer. We all put our own methods of news gathering together via computer, Tivo, mobile phone, blackberry etc.
Paraphrasing Mr. Bernays, "it is not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?”
And isn't that why we come to work each day now? Because the playing field we get to play on is vast and more different than ever before. The things that once worked work no longer. And that is exciting. What do you think?