Friday, October 30, 2009

New Rules: Authenticity & Participation

I just finished reading The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Merman Scott. The book, originally written in 2007, was updated this year by the author. Since my philosophy for organizational/corporate communications emphasizes truly BEing what and who we SAY we are, I was pleased to see some terrific guideposts for authenticity throughout this easy-to-read book.

The tools of marketing and PR have changed. The skills that worked offline to help you buy or beg your way in are the skills of interruption and coercion. Success online comes from thinking like a journalist and a thought leader.

Herewith some key observations, comments and clips:

Search out people online (blogs, articles, etc) talking about your topic — find out their point of view and then engage them in a way that’s congruous with their interests

It’s about new ways to tell stories directly to your audience

Educate, engage (in conversation), entertain and tell compelling stories

Anticipate needs and supply content to meet them, even before they know they want it

Social media provides a feedback loop on what a brand means in the marketplace

Marketing is not about your products; it’s about your consumers

Aiming for unique hits or PR clips is not the right measure — it’s like in soccer focusing on the ball instead of the goal

Use the same language as your buyers — words, phrases

What do you want them to believe?

Become an online thought leader, talking about what's important to your customers, not mentioning your company/products at all

Marketing and PR are meant to be the bridge to a relationship, with buyers and with journalists

What problem do you solve for customers? use real-world language, not corporate jargon ... without going too far (it will sound phony if you push it)

The New Rules
  • Marketing is more than just advertising
  • PR is for more than just mainstream media
  • You are what you publish
  • People want authenticity, not spin
  • People want participation, not propaganda
  • Instead of creating one-way interruption, marketing is about delivering content at just the precise moment your audience needs it
  • Marketers must shift their thinking from mainstream marketing to the masses to a strategy of reaching vast numbers of underserved audiences via the internet
  • PR is not about your boss seeing your company on TV; it’s about your buyers seeing your company on the web
  • Marketing is not about your agency winning awards; it’s about your organization winning business
  • The internet has made public relations public again, after years of an exclusive focus on media
  • Blogs, podcasts, eBooks, news releases and other forms of online content let organizations communicate directly with buyers in a form they appreciate
  • On the web, the lines between marketing and PR have blurred
If you haven't already read this, check out the book yourself at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. How can you change your stance in communicating with your world to become more authentic? To truly BE who you SAY you are? And if you’re not holding yourself (and your organization) to that standard, how will you defend yourself when you’re found out?

As always, thanks for participating.

Jan Thomas
The Communication Heretic


  1. Jan,

    Great post. Thanks for pointing us to what looks like thought-provoking book.

    I find it interesting that most of the "new rules" are actually classics. Except for the technology-dependent ones, they've "always" been true. Not always honored, but still true.

    Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays--both characterized as the "Father of PR"--started practicing in the early 1900's and in the 20's articulated simlar ideas.

    The marketing concept, evolving after WWII, furthered the idea of customer-centric communication.

    New media have made possible new ways of reaching out and lead to some of the new rules.

    None of this is to criticize the author, but to point out the power of "universal truths."

    Thanks for your blog, Jan, I always enjoy your insights.

    Peter The Publisher

  2. I liked your post also. Technology, the social networking sites are all new ways of reaching out, getting on front of an audience.