PR firms

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 04/26/2007

So here’s one that goes on Mike-Levin.com and not the Connors or HitTail Blog. A Vallywag post manages to get Steve Rubel, Steve Jobs, Edelman, Marketing Guru, Public Relations, Virtual Worlds and Fellatio all in the same post. …oops, I did it again. Guess that makes me a scumbag too. Nope, when you read this carefully, you’ll see it’s really a post of integrity. No shame here. I keep Mike-Levin.com around in part to comment on stuff like this. While most PR firms are just jockeying to stay relevant, we’re leading. Just no one observing the PR industry can identify true leadership yet, because the firms themselves are so good at muddying the waters. They have to grab onto the life raft that is radical transparency, while their firms actually engage in anything and everything but. And I have to lower myself to their level momentarily to get an even more valuable message out, then so be it. Here’s the truth about PR: To shape reality, you must first shape perception. To shape perception, you must draw a pretty picture, which is often a lie. When you’re good, and reality eventually comes into compliance with that lie, it is a success, and the winners get to revise history. Had the PR client been transparent getting there, they would have been clobbered by viscous competitors. Incipient misdirection is a part of competitive business. Steve Jobs knows this. Hungry companies trying to reshape the world before people knock-off their technology (and style) know this. Prosper in a pop-like surprise success, bank it, then move on. That’s the formula. A business built to last is built to repeatedly pop profits in a staggered, seasonally sensitive fashion, that relies on secrecy. Secrecy rules. Laying all your cards on the table, and still having just as many cards still up your sleeve rules. Radical transparency is for chumps. It’s the already successful companies that keep impaling themselves on the jagged rocks of angry customers whose batteries are exploding, or getting caught blogging a cross-country RV trip from Wal-Mart parking lot to Wal-Mart parking lot who need some of that transparency. And truly savvy PR firms get it. And Connors Communications is one of them. Why? Just look at HitTail. With the changing state of media, the time had come for PR firms to put up or shut up. Some hired industry pundits, and proceeded with business as usual. Others claimed to revolutionize the press release format and distribution methods. And at least one jumped into the virtual world with a symbolically “transparent” offices–which while clever is still just a PR stunt. It is in this dark landscape of uncertainty that a beacon of pure PR light bursts forth, cutting a swath of illuminated path for those still clear-headed enough to see it. Specifically, Connors Communications, decided to revolutionize the PR industry itself, on the massively underdeveloped turf of long tail keyword marketing, and the disintermediation of everyone. PR firms can now directly connect buyers with sellers, with absolutely no middle-man. Not even the media is required anymore, if the seller has a website. The new truth is that if you can’t get your traffic and customers for free, you have to pay for them. And if you’re not explicitly paying for media coverage (advertising), then you’re paying for the labor of not having to pay the media (public relations). And in doing so, you can update your business to operate efficiently in the new landscape, and moving forward. Yep, PR firms that “get it” today are more like Accenture’s and Deloitte’s than PR firms.