Tuesday, January 8, 2008

January Lunch Is Full!

For the second month in a row, our CCG lunch was booked full within 24 hours of announcing it.

Howdy Partner: How to Bring Together a Coalition of Agencies, Companies, and Other Entities to Work on a Larger Initiative

If you were interested in attending and didn't RSVP in time, we hope to see you next month.

Do you BigThink.com?

So today's New York Times featured an article about a new social networking web site called BigThink.com (tagline: We Are What You Think).

Read the NYT piece. It's a cool idea: A social networking site for the discussion of "big ideas." It started with the site creator uploading "hundreds of hours of direct, unfiltered interviews with today's leading thinkers, movers and shakers." His hope is that you'll watch the videos and then respond, either with a video of your own, a slideshow, or just a simple text answer. And, eventually, he wants you to upload interviews with the leading "thinkers" that you know.

But will it succeed? I venture to say yes... and not just because of the buzz that I'm sure will be built by the NYT piece. I say "yes" because of the experts they've managed to get on-board -- everyone from novelists and CEOs of large companies to professors, politicians, and (yes, really) yoga masters.

But I say "yes" with a caveat... he's got to get the viewers. One suggestion: Reach out to colleges. Hope university professors will integrate projects dealing with this site into coursework. Get some buzz going in these environments that naturally deal with "big ideas."

I'd love to do a Q&A with the BigThink.com creator for this blog, but first I have to show him that I have the readership to do that. We've got 600+ members in this group. Those of you reading: encourage the other members and other PR and communications professionals to come here and post a comment saying they'd like to hear more from Peter Hopkins. If I get enough support on the site, then maybe I can convince him to answer some questions so I can give you the inside track on BigThink.com.

(And if you think BigThink.com is destined to fail, please let me know why. And comment. For the love of all things holy, comment!)

Monday, January 7, 2008

What Is PR Anyway?

Maybe that sounds like a funny title to some of you, but it's been the subject of a lot of conversations -- both in person and via various listservs and groups -- that I've had lately.

So many people seem to think that PR = media relations. And yes, media relations and all that goes with it -- pitching stories, monitoring media coverage of your organization and its competitors and allies, building relationships with reporters and editors -- is part of public relations.

But PR does not just equal media relations.

True public relations professionals are strategic advisers to their organizations. They provide guidance not just in terms of media relations, but also in customer relations, employee communications, community relations, investor relations (when applicable)... the list goes on and on. (Seriously, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There's marketing communications, crisis communications, you get the idea...)

All these conversations have led me to become a little worried about the state of our industry.

The best of the best whom I deal with seem to get it. They understand what their role should be and they work to make it just that. But too many others -- myself included at times -- get lost in the tactical, day-to-day details of the job. Did they get the clip they wanted? Is the text right for the company newsletter? And these details mean they stop worrying about the bigger picture.

So what say you? Do you agree with me? And if so, what tips or tricks can you offer as to how we can all better balance the two dimensions of the job? How can we become better, more valued strategic advisers?