Why do so many people suck at communications?

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate…”

Who doesn’t remember that famous line from Cool Hand Luke?

It’s one of those iconic, ironic phrases that uses few words to convey so much. And it resonates with those of us who work in PR, content marketing and social media.

You wonder why, with all our business savvy and skills, so many people and organizations are just plain awful at telling their stories. Aren’t there enough cases, books and training modules out there to help us do a better job? 

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Old PR versus new PR

Just over a year ago I ran into Dave Jones, a friend, colleague and creator of Inside PR. He’d made the shift from PR to advertising to the digital world not too long before that.

We were talking about various agencies working together and who’s best at doing what. He said when he’s in a meeting and a PR firm is also present, no matter what the brief is, PR folks always come up with one of three approaches:

  1. Celebrity spokesperson
  2. Survey
  3. Charitable partnership
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Where are you going, PR?

Or really, what’s our future going to be?

Are we about to be relegated to the publicity junk heap of the Interwebs? Not that there’s anything wrong with publicity.  As a proud, former publicist I believe there’s much value for that.

There’s an old joke that goes something like this:

What’s the difference between advertising and PR?

In advertising you pay, in PR, you pray.

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A tribute to Arthur Yann, APR

Many communications people were shocked over the weekend to hear the sad news that Arthur Yann, APR, vice president, PR, for the Public Relations Society of America died suddenly at age 48.  It was a tragic turn of events for a person in their prime.

You can read PRSA’s tribute to Arthur and also one from Gini Dietrich.

I wanted to add my sentiments.

I knew Arthur professionally, yet his warm personality made me feel like we were friends. I first connected with him when I phoned out of the blue to say that Inside PR wanted to become a PRSA partner and produce content we could both use. 

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The mainstreamification of social media and where we can go from here

lightbulbI don’t know if you caught the most recent Mad Men episode (and if you didn’t, this isn’t a plot spoiler), but for a show about the ad biz,  it ended with Peggy typing and saying the words, ‘for immediate release’.

Cryptic? Not so much. But when you do watch it, you’ll get a glimpse of the value Don and Co put on PR.

Last week, I wrote a guest post for Spin Sucks on what Mad Men can teach us about becoming the ad (or PR) agency of the future.

It’s based on something I’ve been noticing a lot lately and that we talked about in a recent Inside PR. Let’s call it the ‘mainstreamification’ of social media. 

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