Posts Tagged ‘Brian Solis’


How PR Pros Can Define the Future of Public Relations

Friday, November 1st, 2013

Brian Solis BurrellesLuce What is the Future of PR Business What’s the future of PR? What’s the future of business? Is it a bit too early in the morning to consider those questions? It’s a big topic without a clear answer, but at this year’s PRSA International Conference, which ran October 26-29 in Philadelphia, Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter and forward-thinking PR guru, gave a rousing keynote speech to open this year’s conference, which I attended.

Solis’ topic: What is the Future of Business? Or, as he calls it, WTF. The important thread throughout his address was that to evolve the PR profession to suit the ever-changing topography of business and media, it’s up to PR practitioners to put the “relations” back into “public relations.” “This is a time to lean forward, to try something new, to try something different in your approach. In order to do that, we have to first see what it is we don’t do right in order to change and innovate,” Solis advises.

Solis thinks PR pros can rethink their approach to writing and marketing. “We’re still broadcasting at people, marketing at people, and in an era of social media, we’re actually kind of antisocial,” he points out at the beginning of his speech. “Without understanding social science, without aligning with a bigger mission or vision with what we are trying to do, we are just managing [our] businesses the way we always have. We aren’t moving in any new direction.”

Solis asserts that it’s time to challenge our organizational ecosystems and use social media to reinvent PR by making relationships matter again. Approach your social media and marketing strategy from the perspective of your audience. As Solis points out, “they have to go through a journey with your organization, and PR should redefine the whole journey and experience.”

He asks us to consider the ART – the Actions, Reactions, and Transactions – of social media. If a member of your audience is going to give you their attention for a moment, what do you want to do with it? Solis uses the example of Old Spice, a brand he associated with his grandfather, and a brand he never considered using – until Old Spice’s funny viral video campaigns. “Old Spice made the brand relevant for a consumer who would have never thought to use their products. Think about where you can introduce emotional value,” says Solis.

Solis presents his Hybrid Theory, which puts PR at the center of influence, engagement, content marketing, and consumer experience. Through all of these, PR pros can directly engage. In what Solis calls an “ecosystem of accidental narcissists,” your audience has an audience, with whom they only share things relevant to their audience, and that audience will do the same, so it’s important to understand not only your audience, but what will make your audience share with theirs.

Solis asserts that marketing doesn’t come down to the Millennial generation versus the non-Millennial generation; a Boomer with a tablet and a smartphone will exhibit the same behaviors as a Millennial, so it’s time to approach these behaviors as a widespread lifestyle. To thrive in future business, PR pros must figure out how to be part of that lifestyle of connectedness and engagement.

We must also understand how people make decisions. Connected customers don’t go to Google to make their decisions – they go to their network for trusted recommendations. People share their experiences and in the end, it doesn’t matter what your brand promise is – it matters what your brand experience is, and how clients share that experience. “Brands are dying because they fail to realize that customer experiences or opportunities to improve experiences are the future” of successful campaigns, warns Solis.

“The future of PR lies in creating shareable experiences; it starts with a vision, a mission, and a purpose,” he continues. “You have a role in changing how businesses, organizations and governments talk, relate, and influence.” And this change isn’t about tools, technology, blogging, or influencers, it’s about behavior, “What people feel, do, share, like and don’t like. It’s about you and me. And that’s why PR has to change,” says Solis.

Solis suggests defining your purpose and vision to start. Think about your customers, how you communicate with them and how they communicate with each other, and consider what’s important to them. Then, think about how to earn relevance and keep earning relevance.

Solis ended his insights with thoughts on change: “We all talk about change but we never talk about how to change ourselves. It starts with us and how we value the work we do and the impact our work has. There will always be a new platform or device; how do you make those things better? Use technology to bring your vision to life rather than using new technology to do what you’ve done –talk at people.”

As a former journalist who joined the BurrellesLuce team just two months ago, I found Solis’ heavy use of jargon left me feeling a bit talked at. He raised a few points that gave me some new perspectives to consider as I make my way in a new industry, but I also wondered whether relevance is a commodity that can be earned or an ever-changing state of interaction with clients and audience. In looking at our team at BurrellesLuce, I find that we achieve relevance through constant interaction, and dare I say engagement, to stay relevant in their space and in ours.

What Does Your Profile Picture Say About You?

Monday, January 9th, 2012

What does your profile picture say about you? Do you have different pictures for different social media platforms? Some people like to look very professional. Some try to show they are fun. Others like to show an aspect of their personality or their interests.

I find it fun to look at a profile picture and wonder what the person looks like or how they act in real life (IRL). When I met Brian Solis, I wondered if he would really have the monocle or if it was just a prop. (It was just a prop and a borrowed one.) Also, I often wonder why some people use their children as their profile pictures, because it doesn’t give me any reference as to what they look like or insight into their personality. Some people using a cartoon drawing or Avatar for their profiles can make me wonder if the drawing is better than real life or if they are using one because they think it’s more fun or humorous

Recently a few women have mentioned they do not use their own picture because of security reasons. Raegan Weber, a PR consultant, mentioned, “I had people using my picture for their own blogs or online news stories. So, I chose a picture of my beautiful German shepherd instead of my own headshot.”

Other people like to show support for a cause, school or sports team with Twibbons. They are small icons you can put on your picture. When it’s October, I feel compelled to add a pink ribbon to my profile picture and I still have to have my college mascot Twibbon. Sports fans tend to include their favorite team in their pictures. My BurrellesLuce colleague Denise Giacin makes a point of wearing her favorite baseball team’s hat in her picture.

For me, I just want a nice picture. When I lived in Hawaii, I had a fabulous driver’s license picture. I was skinny, tan and my hair was bleached from the sun. I was so sad when I had to give it up. I know a lot of people who will do anything to keep a good driver’s license picture for as long as humanly possible. I might be that way about my current profile picture. A few years ago, several BurrellesLuce colleagues and I had our head shots taken. Fellow bloggers Johna Burke and Tressa Robbins kept me laughing and smiling, so the picture turned-out great. I use it for all my social media profile pictures, presentations. Well, pretty much anywhere I can use it, I will. Over dinner with friends recently, my husband said I will probably use it for my obituary. Yes, I’ll probably have one of those obituaries where it says I died at 95, but I don’t look a day over 30 in the picture!

What are some of your favorite profile pictures? What does your picture say about you? Do you use the same picture for all mediums or do you have different one based on the platform? 

Required Reading for PR Professionals

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Valerie Simon

Required Reading for PR ProfessionalsAs interns head into the office for the first time this fall, eager to make a good impression and begin a successful career, wouldn’t it be nice to be given a reading list…a list of books that hold the secrets and lessons to give you that extra advantage? I decided to ask a few leaders in the PR industry, “Is there a book you’d consider ‘required reading’? Something you wish every new hire read prior to their first day on the job?” Here are their responses:

Beyond How-to and PR 2.0
“I think better than any how-to or PR 2.0 book are business bios that inspire,(e.g., Howard Schulz, J. Dyson), books re: creativity, and Mad Men,” says Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO and creative director Crenshaw Communications. Personally, I love reading the biographies of successful business leaders; in fact, Howard Schulz’s “Pour Your Heart Into It” has a special place on my bookshelf.

Good for All Levels
Stephanie Smirnov, president, Devries PR suggests “Making News in the Digital Era” by David Henderson.

Global Clientele and Mega Trends
Alex Aizenberg , group manager, Weber Shandwick: “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” and “The World Is Flat” both by Tom Friedman.

Must Reads
Richard Laermer, founder and CEO, RLM Public Relations: “Elements of Style” by E.B. White and “On Writing Well” by Wiliam Zinsser.

Start Your Career Right
Christine Barney, CEO Rbb Public Relations: “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t” by Robert Sutton.

The World Around You
As Stefan Pollack, president of The Pollack PR Marketing Group points out, “With today’s explosion of information, to me, required reading is to read everything one can get their hands on.  Books, eBooks, white papers, blogs, etc..Today’s entry level pro needs to up their level of intellectual curiosity and their life experiences. They need to know more about everything and as important link it to their pursuit for a career in PR.” Pollack’s recommendation: “the Book of Life, the life that is around you both near and far. By upping one’s intellectual curiosity, new hires, run the greater chance of understanding the contextual relevance of what they read when applying it to what they do. ”

As for my suggestions? Attempting to choose a single book to offer up as required reading is certainly not easy. My friends at BurrellesLuce and I frequently pass around books and a few of my favorite books, among those that have circulated, include:

But I think that if I could mandate a single book as required reading for new hires, I’d just stick to an old favorite: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. While Carnegie may have written the book in 1936, the simple lessons are timeless and perhaps more important today than ever before.

What book would you suggest a new employee reads before coming on board at your organization?

When PR Experts Emerge As Tastemakers…

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Valerie Simon

Last Friday I attended PRSA T3 conference and as promised, I wanted to share a glimpse of my experience with you. The incredible line-up put together by conference co-chairs, Rich Teplitsky PRSA Technology section chair and my #PRStudChat partner, 2.0 expert and author Deirdre Breakenridge, offered a full day of lively sessions,  including an intriguing session by Christine Perkett, President of PerkettPR, on “Driving your own influence: PR experts as influencers.”  Here are some of the key tips and takeaways from Christine’s presentation, provided by Heather Mosley of PerkettPR.

In the field of public relations, as within any other industry, “stars” emerge. Those who offer value and receive exposure gain attention. And while in the field of PR it is usually our clients who take center stage, Christine’s presentation highlighted tastemakers such as fashion PR maven Kelly Cutrone and social media experts such as Brian Solis who have become influencers in their own right. She encouraged those seeking to become influencers to share; write a book, offer quotes for a book, blog and tweet. Christine also cautioned that while sharing and participating in social media is essential, equally important is the need to offer value. Consider everything you put out there especially in writing, and what value it offers to others.

Following the session, Christine shared a few thoughts with me for young PR practitioners who seek to become influencers.

So here is my question to BurrellesLuce readers: What are your thoughts on PR experts as influencers? Is it the role of the PR practitioner to stay behind the brand, or do those PR influencers who are able to emerge as veritable tastemakers offer an added value to both clients and their community?

PR Resolutions and Goals for the New Year

Friday, January 8th, 2010
Flickr Image: Gavin Luhrs

Flickr Image: Gavin Luhrs

As I began to think about the topic for this first post of the New Year, I thought about my goals and aspirations. (Colleen Flood, my colleague here at BurrellesLuce had similiar inspiration when she wrote about “Setting Smart Goals in 2010“).  Then, I realized that there is already lots of good information out there – many that parallel my own thoughts.  So, I thought I’d provide a round-up of some of the posts I’ve read in the past week – ones that I think we can all relate to. 

  • Associated Press business writer Joyce M. Rosenburg did a story on small business owners making resolutions. The first interviewee was a PR agency owner and her resolution was one we should all strive to do:  spend quality time with clients. In that same article, another PR agency president planned to improve her work/life balance. 
  • My Twitter friend @PRcog has some resolutions, found on the PRBC (PR Breakfast Club), site that I think many of us can relate to, as well: Stop using descriptors like “cutting (or bleeding) edge,” “revolutionary” or the “next big thing” and to convince clients to stop caring about their follower/fan count.  He doesn’t say it, but it’s implied that they should be focusing more on the strategy, not the tool. 
  • Linda Jacobson, APR, published her New Year wish list which included promising to only put out quality content (versus a press release just for the sake of releasing something). She also encouraged us to “play nice with others,” stating that, “Marketers, advertisers and PR professionals need to be on the same team. Playing to each strength usually gets targeted results. When one of the three legs decides not to do this, the result skews and doesn’t deliver full strength.”
  • Charlotte Schaff posted her top ten resolutions on the Valley PR blog, which include making the most of her PRSA membership, improve media relations by being a connector and source to the media, and (one I can personally relate to) saying “no” more often. 
  • PR student and PRSSA national vice president of professional development, Nick Lucido resolves to learn to lead – his resolutions are in relation to his studies but can be applied in the business world as well.
  • Finally, Brian Solis, in his “Greatest Hits of 2009” series, states “Our resolutions for 2010 must include learning and participation. With an open mind and an open heart, we can continue to learn, grow, and in turn, teach those around us to make 2010 a banner year for new media literacy and change.”

 What resolutions have you made? What would you add to this list? I look forward to your participation!