@unmarketing says he didn’t say “immediacy” trumps “authenticity”.

Unmarketing 4


Since posting the original post Scott as contacted me to say that he was misquoted and that he didn’t say that immediacy trumps authenticity – and I’m happy to update the post to reflect this.  I’ve included the original post below for context.

@THINK_Lyndon, @unmarketing, Lyndon Johnson, Scott Stratten
A conversation between @unmarketing and @THINK_Lyndon

The conversation I had with Scott raises some interesting issues – including the problem of paraphrasing in 140 characters, the value of social media when an audience shares something incorrectly [either because paraphrasing misrepresents what was said, or because it has been misunderstood] and the potential pitfalls of allowing a message to be shared by third-parties.  It also demonstrates the importance of context – a point made by Scott that makes is that it’s always best to be in the room to hear first hand what is being said.  I couldn’t agree more.

Unmarketing 3

But it raises trust issues with anything posted on a social platform and – as I have said repeatedly – the ability of an algorhythm [Google’s, Klout’s…] to determine who should be trusted, who is credible and who adds value.  If the only context is the sharing of a social post or volume of repeat visits to a website these algorhythms have no way of measuring the accuracy, relevance, accuracy or credibility of individual accounts.

I don’t know how technology fixes this, but  I do question the value of computers measuring credibility or trust.  The only sensible way would appear to be in the same room – to hear what is said and to see the whites of somebody’s eyes in order to judge that individuals credibility and trustworthiness.  It also suggests that Apple has its social policy spot on – and more companies should follow the company’s lead.

And, it also raises questions about my approach to these questions.  I’m increasingly spending less time on social platforms and more time meeting people in person – and in that vein I’m inviting Scott for a coffee.  It seems unfair for me to judge him based on social media and online – so until I have the chance to meet him I’ll reserve my judgement.  Name a coffee shop in the city we both call home and a time Scott, and I’ll be there.

Original post

@unmarketing- immediacy trumps authenticity
@unmarketing says immediacy trumps authenticity. Do you agree?

It’s a great sound bite, but it is simply not true.

If you’ve read the THINK blog before you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of Scott Stratten [@unmarketing on Twitter]. I read his first book, watched some videos and read a few interviews with him and wasn’t impressed. But I have to be honest even I was surprised by what I read from the Canadian Public Relations Society annual conference – at which he was a keynote speaker.

If you believe Scott, speed of response – immediacy to use his words – is now more important than authenticity. Being quick to respond is, it would appear, more important than being real or credible.

Ask yourself, would you rather somebody respond with a quick answer than a right answer? Reply as quickly as possible or when they have the correct answer? Pretend to be something they aren’t, in the name of speed, or be themselves? Do you want somebody to tell you then can help you – only to find out down the line that they can’t? Do you want a pilot to do the first thing he thinks of in an emergency – or the right thing?! What if the EMS sent out the first available person, rather than somebody that was qualified to provide treatment?!

I know which I’d prefer.

My other concern about this approach is that expecting to build long-term relationships, based on speed, rather than credibility and trust is setting unreasonable expectations. I’m also not sure that the people you’re trying to build relationships with will hang around if they find out you’ve lied to them for the sake of speed.  Relationships take time to build – for a good reason.  Immediacy is the biggest social deception.

I hate the word authentic because, more often than not, it is used by people that are trying to convince you they are being themselves – rather than actually being themselves. “Authenticity” is a mask worn by people that are scared you’ll see who they really are if they are themselves.

I’ve been reading about Apple this morning – discussions about whether the company is social or anti-social because it shies away from the mainstream social platforms. They are, to my mind, one of the most social companies out there because they’ve built relationships – strong relationships that are the envy of many – based on strong, real, values and continually delivering exceptional products. Steve Jobs once said he’d rather have the best product in a segment rather than the first product to market – quality over speed; “authenticity” over immediacy. People may not have liked Steve Jobs personality, but they love the products created around the values which he lived and worked by…

But that’s another post!

Which shows somebody cares most – speed or being real? Let me know in the comments below.

Arianna Huffington Says The Press Release Is Over…

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

… but she hasn’t a clue what she is talking about.

I wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago for MarketingProfs where I explained that the reason the PR industry is dying… because too few of its so-called professionals don’t understand what they are talking about. As a result, there are too many commentators that don’t know their PR from their marketing and publicity.  Comments Arianna’s in an Inc magazine interview are the perfect example of what I’m talking about.  That, and my assertion that self-titled ‘experts’ creating content that misleads the, often uninformed, reader.

Arianna says that she thinks that content marketing, ‘or whatever the buzzword of the day…” is a better strategy for small businesses than public relations.  Sorry Arianna, the two are very different things and marketing – content or otherwise – can’t replace public relations.  Public relations is about building mutually beneficial relationships, based on trust and credibility.  Marketing is everything an organization does to get an audience to take action on your behalf.  Marketing is easier if you have the relationships in place.

Whether the press release is dead… it is if it’s done badly – as is the case with the majority that are written and distributed.  If the purpose is clear, the release is carefully written, is delivered to the right audience and using the most appropriate delivery mechanism then it is still a valuable PR and publicity tool.  Whether it is PR or publicity depends on the desired outcome: are you trying to inform [publicity] or build relationships [PR].

The other issue I have with Arianna’s ‘advice’ is that it’s based on her business.  It’s like me telling you that in order to get to a destination – say a Starbucks – you need to turn right outside of your front door, turn left after 50m and then left again.  Walk 500m and you’ll arrive at your destination.  While this works for me, it is unlikely the same ‘strategy’ will work for you.

Content works best for Arianna because her business is in online publishing.  She is able to sell advertising based on the amount of traffic to the site.  For many startups and small businesses page impressions have little or no value.  Content shared is only valuable if it is shared with the right audience – people that are likely and able to become customers, investors, beta-testers or champions.  If they fall outside of the target audience for an early-stage business then content sharing has no commercial value at all.

And, so the final words of caution when listening to advice from somebody that doesn’t understand your business in detail… context is everything.  Beware of generic, broad-brush proclamations – it may not be good advice for your business and is not likely to deliver the results you hope for.

You can get the PR, marketing and publicity advice your business needs today, starting with just a 15-minute introductory session.  After that, you can tailor a program that is customized to your business’s specific PR needs

3 Reasons You Should Copy Apple’s PR But NOT It’s Publicity Strategy

Apple, PR, Public Relations, Publicity
Ed Zitron says you shouldn’t copy Apple’s PR strategy. I disagree.

I read this article by Ed Zitron on the Inc website earlier and tried to comment.  When the comment wouldn’t load for technical reasons [I’m assuming] I thought the comment was worth turning it in to a short blog post.

The point Ed makes is that most  companies shouldn’t try to emulate Apple’s publicity strategy.  Ed calls it PR, but what he is describing is publicity.  Whatever he calls it, I agree.  Apple has a reputation for being media shy until it is ready to talk with the press and for early stage businesses this aloofness is definitely not a way to make friends and influence people.  Another reason I think trying to emulate Apple’s media strategy is wrong is because when the Cupertino-based company has something to announce it always – at least under Steve Jobs – had something worthy of media attention.  I’m not sure the majority of early-stage companies have anything as game-changing as the iPod, iPad, iMac or iPhone with which to tempt the media.

That said, I DO believe that early stage businesses should attempt to emulate Apple’s PR strategy.  Public relations is about building relationships – with the media, customers, prospects, influencers and people that might become customers.  For all it’s reluctance to talk with the media until it was ready, Apple had [and still has] some of the best media relationships of any tech company.  Scratch that… of any company.  

Apple – under Jobs – also had a way of communicating simply.  It understood the power of ‘less is more’ in communicating complex products, services and propositions.  It was an early  adopter of video in its PR – its 1984 and Think Different spots were both exercises in public relations, despite looking suspiciously like adverts.  They were predominantly about communicating values and building relationships, rather than promotion or marketing [getting the audience to take action on its behalf].

The major problem for most companies trying to use Apple’s publicity strategy is that it takes discipline, focus and an awful lot of work.  It requires commitment and patience – and, most importantly, it requires that when you do have something you want coverage for you hit it out of the park.  Apple repeatedly managed to do this with the iMac, iPod, iPhone, Macs and iPad.

Very few other companies – even highly successful ones – will ever come close to emulating what Apple did. Want to know why?  Read Ken Segall’s book Insanely Simple

Smart PR is Effective PR

Public Relations Espresso

I’ve read a few articles in recent days about smart PR and marketing, including this one by Jackie Nagel on ‘The New Normal‘.  Smart PR and marketing is, to my mind, effective PR & marketing – it delivers the right message to the right audience at the right time in order to achieve the desired outcome.  In the case of public relations it is to build and sustain a mutually beneficial relationship; with marketing it is to get the audience to take action on your behalf, because they want to.

I gave a presentation at the end of last year that looked at why the traditional – media-centric approach to PR is, if it ever was, no longer smart.  Take a daily publication with a circulation of 300,000 per week and apply the direct marketing 5% rule and you find that you are actually talking with about 7.5 people.  This is without factoring in the added complexity that your target audience may read the paper on a day that you’re not in it.

Apply the same rule to a website with a similar weekly audience but with a 15 minute news cycle and you can see the chances of you getting in front of your target audience with editorial coverage is even more unlikely.

I’m not saying nobody will see it.  Neither am I saying that nobody will click the link or Google you.  But how many of those people are likely to be become your customer, or make the investment you’re seeking?  Sure, it could happen – but I could also win the lottery this week.

Smart PR and marketing takes a different approach.  It identifies the audience, understands why they might be interested in your company or product.  It works out what you need to say to them to start a conversation that gives you the opportunity to influence them – whether it is investing in your business, buying your product or telling somebody they know about you.  It understands what the right time to start the conversation is – for them.  Too many PR and marketing programs assume, incorrectly, that the right time is when they are ready.  Smart PR and marketing also understands that the delivery channel is critical to getting the outcome you want – and that, in many cases, social media is not the right one.

Still not sold on smart PR or marketing?  Ask yourself how many planes you’d be prepared to get on in order to get to your intended destination?  How many randomly dialled telephone calls would you make to try to find the person you wanted to talk with? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it?  But that’s what the majority of companies do with their PR and marketing every day.

If your business deserves smart PR and marketing give me a call on 647.773.2677 or email me at lyndon@thinkdifferently.ca We’ll help you deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time and using the right delivery mechanism.

Online communities or fiefdoms?

Public Relations Espresso

Today on the THINK PR Espresso I’m pondering the curious world we live in – one lived largely online and where conversations are started… as long as it is OK with the community owner or moderator.  An experience today left me scratching my head and wondering whether we’re creating online communities or whether they are actually just fiefdoms.

Listen to my experience and you decide.  Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.