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The big, messy, ever-changing stew

The big, messy, ever-changing stew

I have two favorite quotes about the public relations game. The first:

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers” (Daniel J. Boorstin)


“Everything you do or say is public relations.” (unknown)

The Boorstin quote is about the illusion that some companies and individuals used in the past to create “greatness” through carefully orchestrated communications strategies. That greatness can either be accomplished or greatness can be a matter of well-financed hype. Boorstin seems to be mocking the idea that true greatness even needs a PR plan.

This is yesterday’s public relations quote. Because there was a time — not long ago — when press releases and well-placed newspaper articles were the essence of a PR plan. It was all about messages — and good connections in the media. Whether you were great or not wasn’t as important as the marketing and communications budget.

The second quote, however, is where we rest today. In the age of blogs, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Facebook and insta-pundits (Amazon.com has made us all book and movie reviewers), press releases and news articles aren’t enough anymore. Because the Web has made us all — for better or worse — move into glass houses. Companies are at the mercy of their employees, customers, partners, and prospects. Everything is now in the public domain — from internal emails to holiday party photographs.

And its all out there being talked about, tagged, and archived.  You are not longer what you say you are — but what others say about you.

It’s a big, messy, ever-changing stew. So what’s an enterprise to do?

Well, how about joining in? Better to be part of the conversation than the butt of it. Mistakes will be made, but so will successes. It’s time to knock away the market speak and the talking points and start engaging in real conversations. This space will be dedicated to exploring the big, messy, ever-changing stew — dissecting the tasty morsels and talking with other chefs about better recipes.

And we promise we’ll get better metaphors in place as well.

Welcome to HighTalk. Thanks for reading.

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