Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Remnants to revitalized PR; chatting with Brian Solis

Image representing Brian Solis as depicted in ...Image via CrunchBaseEarlier this evening I had the opportunity to participate in a conference call conversation with Brian Solis along with a handful of other DFW bloggers. We were invited to ask some questions of Brian who will be the lunch keynote speaker at the Dallas PRSA Communications Summit this Friday, October 22. 

As a professional communicator, I was thrilled to have a chance to learn from such a respected thought leader of new media and prolific author.

Below are the topics our little cadre of questioners narrowed down along with summary responses from Brian Solis:

What are the key differences between PR 1.0 and 2.0, and how can someone educate themselves?
The depth of knowledge, experience, and passion for peer-to-peer need to be in the I-have-to-learn-category for professionals. It's beyond pitching and placing; it's about moving individuals. It means realizing that we need to connect with humans that shape markets. This dynamic understanding of digital influence is what he believes will bring PR back to life.

(I recently ran across a video Brian Solis did with Chris Beck and 26 Dot Two about branded content called  The great advertising disconnect. "The last mile") What are some things PR people need to focus on today to reach that "last mile" of engagement?
Brian smartly pointed us to his blog post, The Last Mile: The Socialization of Business along with his series The Hybrid Theory Manifesto: The Future of Marketing, Advertising, and Communications (Parts One, Two, and Three) to give us a framework on his vision. He has provided his call to action or at least attention the fact that there is a gap that isn't being filled by PR. Advertising firms are bringing PR into the fold because they recognize the necessity and wisdom reaching and activating the influential individuals. (As an aside, this portion of the call intrigued me the most and warrants further research.)

Can you tell us a little about the premise of your book, Engage? What is the importance in it for PR/social media folks?
Brian responded that basically where he is now in his professional life is entrenched in the realm of organizational restructuring. He said his new book, Engage, is written with the executive suite in mind. "There are so many champions, we need more leaders," said Solis. There's an important lesson for PR people here: we need to be leaders.

How do you measure the value of engagement and report that back to your brand?
In measurement and reporting, you must start with the end in mind. Every aspect of social media is not created equally, nor are friends, fans, communities, etc. When you know who you are talking to, you can segment the story. Ultimately, we measure engagement based on the predefined objectives we want to accomplish. (In other words it's the seeing, clicking, doing that tells us we're winning.)

Brian Solis left us with some additional thoughts as he noticed one of our bloggers was doing a bit of live-tweeting during the call. The real-time updates triggered some final words of wisdom from our call:
  • Consumers have become empowered. 
  • There are audiences within audiences. 
  • The balance of power has shifted. 
  • IF you can inspired others to follow and share, you are on the right track.
If you are in the DFW area on Friday, October 22, consider joining the Dallas chapter of PRSA for their annual Communications Summit: "Engage. Educate. Elevate." In addition to Solis, they have another great line-up for PR pros.
I look forward to reading what the other bloggers zeroed in on from the call. Be sure to check out posts from Alyssa Gardina, Elysa Rice, and Eddy Badrina. (Also, special thanks and hat tip to Kai Stansberry, Lauren Fernandez and Chad Sour for the invitation and getting this call organized.)
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