Social media, online video and even virtual offices in Second Life have become mainstream elements of public relations over the past 12 months. The very practice of PR has changed as smart practitioners have created platforms of influence outside of the traditional media channels. And, some have learned how to effectively "join the conversation" of the blogesphere.
I spoke with Richard Edelman, who heads the world’s largest independent firm. Richard has long been on the forefront of embracing the Internet and emerging technologies. He spoke with me about his firm’s use of social media for clients including Adobe, GE, Microsoft, Nissan and Unilever. He stated the imperative for transparency. There has been some controversy over the past year over some some of his firm’s work, but he is very proud.
He told me that the Wal-Mart blog has become well established and is getting some 600,000 page views per month.
He also said that efforts in MySpace have been gone well, including the page for Unilever’s Axe men’s fragrance which as 80,000 registered "friends".
I also had the opportunity to speak with Mary Stutts, who heads corporate communications for Genentech. Mary is also keen on using new media to create platforms outside of traditional media.
Closing the segment is my chat with Aedhmar Hynes, who head Text 100, one of the world’s most innovative public relations consultancies. She offers advice about weighing options for embracing new media.
Edelman Gets Kudo’s by PRWeek for its Work for MySpace
Here’s the citation from the judges: MySpace had already been established as the online community of choice for most of the youth culture when Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. purchased the site. Edelman was faced with the challenge of maintaining the site’s anti-corporate image while also making it seem like a viable place for advertisers and investors, and facing the issue of security and safety on social networking sites that had become a heated topic in the media. Edelman used the site’s ongoing entertainment and social awareness programs to show that MySpace had maintained its roots and leveraged current advertisers to demonstrate its effectiveness as an advertising platform. Edelman was also able to shift the dialogue about the safety issue surrounding MySpace through work with educators and parents. Judges agreed that this campaign was a "great example of managing a cultural phenomenon."
(Full disclose: my firm Plesser Holland is the PR agency for PRWeek, the industry’s leading trade publication. )