Sunday, September 28, 2014

Advertising Week 2014: Technology rules

The ad world is revving up for Advertising Week 2014. The official promotion and media coverage, in the week before, focuses relentlessly on the tech / digital issues.  One does (at least a little) wonder if anybody is going to pay attention to "content." All those new digital channels have to distribute something, after all. We look forward to discussions about what will be the effective content for the new varieties of digital media.  (After all, just because you CAN deliver content, doesn't mean it sells anything.)

The Wall Street Journal (posting Sunday afternoon, Sept 28) foresees Advertising Week 2014 to provide a vision for how digital media will increasingly dominate the ad spend: "Digital Media to Take Center Stage at Advertising Week." The Journal expects the news (and the chatter) to focus on the technology of distribution rather than the power of brand: "Talk at the swanky cocktail parties is likely to revolve around things that didn't even exist a decade ago, from BuzzFeed and Instagram to programmatic ad buying and marketing cloud. The chatter over canapes will entail an alphabet soup of new marketing jargon such as DSP, SSP, DMP and RTB. . . . It is a far cry from the first Advertising Week, 11 years ago, when much of the talk among ad executives was whether the prize for fan-favorite ad icon would go to Tony the Tiger or the M&M characters."

The New York Times (also posting on Sunday afternoon, Sept 28) sees Advertising Week 2014 to offer a referendum on the future of television: "Advertising Week 2014: Exploring the Future of Television.".  The Times' perspective is consistent with the WSJ, but provides a view of the continuum from the recent past to the uncertain future -- as consumers evolve in their screen-behaviors -- away from TV (some of the time, for some consumers): "A debate that is likely to generate heat, if not light, is whether rapid, large increases in digital ad spending by marketers,prompted by shifts in how viewers watch video, mean a concomitant decline in spending for commercial time on traditional television." . . . According to the 2014 Ipsos Affluent Survey USA, the use of digital media is growing strongly among affluent Americans but not at the expense of traditional media like television. 'Digital media is supplementing, not supplanting,' Stephen Kraus, chief insights officers for the Audience Measurement Group of Ipsos MediaCT said."

The following is an excerpt from the Advertising Week / Stillwell Partners media release issued September 23:

"Extended thought leadership content tracks dig deep into industry hot buttons including: Programmatic, Mobile, Data, Video, Innovation, Local, Health, Fitness & Wearables, Retail Innovation, Sports, Native Ads, Cross-Screen and Social Influence. The Advertising Week Experience (AWE) also returns featuring nearly 100 start-ups that represent the front lines of technological innovation, which is re-shaping the industry, in real time.

"Additional highlights:
  • Grand Central Terminal hosts the Opening Gala, in partnership with Amazon Media Group
  • The Wall Street Journal launches Disruption, a new evening event
  • Fortune stages a special edition of Brainstorm TECH
  • Randall Rothenberg leads IAB's annual MIXX Conference
  • CMOs and CEOs take center stage throughout The Week along with a "State of the Industry" series featuring more than a dozen major trade associations
  • The Pandora Battle of the Ad Bands returns to the Highline Ballroom
  • Rovio's Angry Birds Transformers Party, returns to Arena
"New and returning corporate and media partners for Advertising Week 2014 include: AARP, Acxiom, Adara, Adobe, Amazon Media Group, Amobee, AOL, AT&T AdWorks, BuzzFeed, Centaur, Exponential, Facebook, Fast Company, Fortune, Getty Images, Google, Keek, LinkedIn, Marketo, Mashable, Mediaocean, Microsoft, Millennial Media, MLB Advanced Media, NBCUniversal, NCC Media, New York Market Radio, The New York Times, Nielsen, OpenX, Pandora, Precision Marketing Insights from Verizon, Purch, PwC, RadiumOne, Rovio, Rubicon Project, Tasting Table, The Wall Street Journal, The Weather Channel, true[X], Turn, Quiver, Univision, USA Today, WebMD, Yahoo, yp, and many more."

Other developments to watch for:

"Will Facebook Announce New Atlas Advertising Platform at Advertising Week 2014?"

The Yellow Pages will "take over" Grand Central Terminal.

The Drum will try to shock you.  (Anybody out there still shock-able?)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wiki coping

Public relations practitioners often face the conundrum (frustration) of a client's / organization's Wikipedia entry being wrong or damaging. Prof. Marcia DiStasio at Penn State has been involved for the past few years in a number of initiatives to empower PR professionals responsibly to participate in the wiki ecosystem.

This post at the Institute for Public Relations site provides links through to useful, specific guidelines and insights.

PR research coming of age

September 15 - 19, 2014 was the observance of the first global public relations Measurement Week. The initiative was led by the London-based AMEC (International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication), the U.S.-based Institute for Public Relations, a number of the leading research services providers  (BurrellesLuce, Cision, Gorkana, Kantar, PRIME, and Vocus), and a handful of the global PR agencies, and it was the culmination of nearly a decade of the efforts of the public relations industry to grapple with the demands for better analytics in media and marketing services.

The PR industry -- like advertising and the news and entertainment media -- has faced enormous challenges to its business model in the face of the impact of digital technologies. Yet PR had always stood apart -- or trailed behind? -- other marketing and media sectors in demonstrating its impact. The PR profession often justified its contributions with vague concepts such as "buzz," "impressions," "advertising value equivalency," and "reputation." As inadequate as the standard metrics had been for advertising and media, PR offered nothing comparable for consistency.

The challenge from large corporations' procurement departments for an industry standards for marketing communications services return on investment (ROI) metrics, especially after the 2008 recession, coalesced with inklings about the potential to link communications acts to transactions, transparently, with new digital media.

The September 2014 Measurement Week is a strong indication of how far the PR industry has come to meet these challenges in two dimensions: 1) providing the analytics that business demands at the same time as 2) creating consensus with the global PR industry around methods, terminology, and standards.

The third edition of the Dictionary for PR Measurement and Research, published by the Institute for Public Relations, and edited by Prof. Don Stacks at the University of Miami and Prof. Shannon Bowen at the University of South Carolina, is now widely accepted as the authority on PR research  terminology definitions.

AMEC has rallied consensus among corporations, research services providers, and PR agencies in a number of initiatives, most notably its campaign against "advertising value equivalency," first aggressively asserted in the 2010 Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles.

In the past three years, a coalition of communications associations has undertaken aggressive efforts to articulate standards and best practices for monitoring and analytics of both traditional and new digital media communications. The Coalition for PR Research Standards has the active participation and endorsement of the Council of Public Relations Firms, the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management, the Institute for Public RelationsAMEC, and the Public Relations Society of America.  Simultaneously, an overlapping group was formed, The Social Media Measurement Conclave, which has met and articulated new industry standards for social media measurement methodologies -- with the hearty endorsement from opinion-leading corporations such as Southwest Airlines, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Cisco, McDonalds, and Thompson Reuters.

Finally, The Institute of Public Relations has created a new PR Research Standards Center dedicated to sustaining industry consensus and providing content and initiatives to support PR education (both academic and professional) related to the newly articulated standards.

Friday, January 31, 2014

The State of the Union -- between words and images

On January 28, 2014 President Barack Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union speech. Setting aside partisanship relating to the President and his advocated policies, this speech is still likely to go down in the history of professional communications as a new milestone in professional communicators’ responsiveness to new consumer media-consumption realities.

If you watched the January 28th State of the Union speech on network television (or some other version of “old media”), you missed the real news.   For those of you who missed it, whitehouse.gov provided an “enhanced live-stream” of the speech – comprised of the live streaming of the speech, on the left side of the split screen, and periodically, on the right side of the split screen, infographics and photos that exemplify best practices of presentation method effectiveness. 


And – by the way – if you chose to watch the whitehouse.gov “enhanced live-stream” not in the full-screen mode, then you also got a series of the Obama machine’s live tweets to read underneath the split screen.  The tweet-stream also included highly-charged emotional images and simplified graphics.

If the Obama machine won the 2012 election because of a mastery of Big Data, they also won the 2014 State of the Union because of the mastery of the implications of state-of-the-art Infographics.

The bar has been set higher for multimedia / integrated communications for executive speech-making from today on.  Here are the standards for the future for a “best practice” speech:

1) The speech is live-streamed (the talking head part)

2) The setting for the live-streaming has been stage-designed to include all those supportive people and tableaus (the entrepreneurs, the military veterans, the beneficiaries of government programs, etc.)

3) The split-screen format provides graphics, images, etc. which illustrate and provide visual cues and emphasis beyond what the video recording of the live event can provide.

4) The smart use of presentation graphics must exemplify the most current and tested methods for PowerPoint-category software and other presentation methodologies.  When the most important points are being made by the speaker, there are no graphics: focus only on the face and voice of the speaker (making the emotional connection). The graphics never repeat exactly (but complement) the speaker.  And the speaker never, never, never reads the “slides.”

5) If your audience processes information better in “bits” and “tweets” – you can provide it with a live-stream of tweets echoing the live/videoed event.  

A successful speech (live communication) must now be well written and delivered; stage-managed; supported with best-practice graphics; layered with live-streamed social media posts.


The production and presentation of the 2014 State of the Union speech did not present any breakthroughs. But the whitehouse.gov production and presentation of the speech did incorporate all the best practices that all of us in PR, advertising, and social media pros already know about. The level of execution and preparation sets the new standard.


This post also appeared
at CommPRO.biz
on January 29, 2014



Saturday, January 4, 2014

What I learned in the first semester about integrated communications

In the fall of 2013, the City College of New York (CCNY) Media and Communication Arts Department (MCA) commenced a new undertaking of exploration and education forthe future of professional branding and integrated communications

Who (vaguely referenced in that opening sentence) actually undertook this “exploration”?

A handful of full-time senior faculty, scholars and practitioners with careers in advertising and PR behind them. Another handful of adjunct professors from some of the top advertising and marketing communications agencies in New York City. Yet another handful of advertising and PR industry advisers – senior executives of leading New York agencies and global marketing services groups (top management from Y&R, Ketchum, GroupM, and Finn Partners). And thirty students – the CCNY Branding + Integrated Communications Master of Professional Studies Class of 2015 – a diverse group of young professionals, some of whom worked at ad agencies, some for social service and government agencies, some for NGOs, some for media buying and services agencies, and some right out of their Bachelor’s degree programs; young professionals from Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, Fiji, France, Russia, Thailand – and from California, Illinois, and South Carolina -- and from Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley.

Looking back at this momentous first semester of our exploration branding and integrated communications, I am fairly certain that I have learned as much – but maybe not all the same things – as our students..
  • Integrated marketing has arrived. The young, aggressive professional in the field today presumes that integrated marketing communications is the norm. The “battles” between advertising and PR are their grandfathers’ battles – not only irrelevant, not even on their radar screen. And social and digital communications are not something separate from traditional media; for these young professionals the virtual-physical dichotomy isn’t useful. The young communications professionals with which we are working want to move markets, empower ideas, and advance causes. The old marketing communications silos are just not theirs – they are totally in sync with the most forward-thinking senior managers and communications thought leaders at the global agencies, corporations, and not-for-profit organizations.
  • Integrated marketing as practiced in the U.S.A. – and in New York City – remains a global magnet for talent. Of course, there has been, and continues to be, vast turmoil in the technological changes and business models of American media companies and American marketing services providers. But this evolution (“turmoil” for the finance people and the investors) is still, more than ever, a dynamic cauldron for young professionals. Our students (from Queens or Cameroon) are preparing to assume important roles in global media services in the future – whether their future desks rest in Calgary or Bangkok or Paris. They have come to New York to be at an epicenter of where the future of is emergent. Of course, there are many, many brilliant, competent, and effective professionals in marketing communications working outside of New York, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Paris, Sydney, Cape Town, and a few other obvious mature media capitals. But the lure (and the physical, sensual allure) of the world’s media centers has not been eroded at all by global distributed markets and digital technologies.
  • Marketing communications practice and education still lags behind other professions in evidence- and data-driven processes and decision-making. Even as the CCNY BIC students studied with the best -- with Belle Frank, EVP of Global Research and Strategy at Y&R and heard guest lectures from Google and other leaders in data-driven domains, it remained clear to us how far most students and practitioners of advertising and public relations yet have to go fully to participate meaningfully in 21st century strategic communications. It’s not that our students have extraordinary deficits; it is that the bar is raised higher, continuously, for how analytics will contribute to insight and policy formation. This work is just begun. What’s “cool,” ultimately, doesn’t matter. What works? What changes minds and the world? What increases assets (what makes money) in the real world?
  • Integrated communications isn’t just about message delivery technologies and systems. Our students gravitate toward integrated marketing not just because of the hybridization of media technologies. They naturally presume that integrated communications entails a full, strategically aligned integration of marketing, customer relationship management, financial communications, community relations, corporate social responsibility, policy advocacy, and employee communications. Our students demonstrate a mindset that presumes and accepts that “the whole world is watching.” 



Second semester looms ahead.

This post also appears
at CommPRO.biz,
January 5, 2014

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summer 2013 marcom news: the data haves and have nots

Following events in the ad / PR world at the end of July 2013 has been exciting and enlightening. And a bit disconcerting for anyone concerned, at least in the short term, about the viability of smaller marcom enterprises, especially including non-profit and advocacy organizations. The emerging marcom digital divide is growing wider than ever. Big data favors big enterprise. And creativity and human insight seem increasingly like a quaint cottage industry.

2013 Summer Story Line Number 1: The Promise of Big Data. From the earliest public reports of the expected combination of Publicis and the Omnicom Group (POG), such as in The New York Times, July 27th report, there has been the acknowledgement that the creation of POG is not entirely about traditionally understood advertising services. The Times’ Tanzina Vega noted on July 27th, “. . . antitrust concerns could be eased if the new company positions itself less as a conglomerate of ad agencies and more of a data company competing with businesses like I.B.M. and Facebook . . .” That same message is clear in AdAge’s August 4th post by Abbey Klaasen, in which she writes “Ninety percent of the world’s data have been generated in the past two years . . . And increasingly those data are generated by digital interactions tracked for the primary, if not sole, purpose of selling goods or services. This data-intensive world has ushered in competitors that aren’t ad agencies but giant technology and consulting firms, like IBM, Oracle and Accenture.”

From this perspective, POG isn’t at all about your grandfather’s advertising. It’s about the brave new world of data that monitors and algorithms that reveal patterns – for the organizations big enough, resourced enough to derive benefit. (Of course, all this is being reported against the wider background news about the travails of Edward Snowden and the media-hyped reportage and speculation about what the National Security Agency may know – or not know – about us all.)

2013 Summer Story Line Number 2: Small is Beautiful (and, Hopefully, Still Relevant). One reaction to the POG announcement has come loud-and-clear from the “smaller” ad and PR agencies. On the advertising side we’ve had Dan Wieden, co-founder of Wieden & Kennedy, speaking on at the AdAge 2013 fourth annual Small Agency Conference, saying that “the ad giants are ‘wobbling like drunkards’ and called for indie shops to sharpen their swords.” Wieden’s speech has been widely discussed and picked up, such as in Will Burns’ Forbes.com July 30th post.

On the public relations side, Art Stevens, managing partner at Stevens Gould Pincus, wrote on July 28th at CommPRO.biz about his conviction that the “smaller, more nimble agencies” will be the beneficiary of clients’ distrust of the new marcom “behemoth.” However, the PR, response reveals more than a little consternation. The Holmes Report’s July 30th post by Aarti Shah raises the question, “Is PR an “Afterthought”? And even Stevens’ optimistic view of the opportunity for non-behemoth PR firms has a telling comment: Stevens asks “. . . will they [clients] be happier with smaller agencies with worldwide capabilities?” And just how many “smaller” PR agencies really have worldwide capabilities?

2013 Summer Story Line Number 3: The End of Measurement; The Emergence of Insight. Simultaneous with the global turmoil (and relish) over POG, Katie Paine made the official announcement that she was leaving News Group International in a July 26th post of The Measurement Standard. In Paine’s more personal insight provided at her personal blog, KDPaine’s PR Measurement Blog, on July 29th, she presented a context for her departure from News Group International as an indicator of a broader trend in PR/media research: “When I started in the industry there was me and a couple of other people talking about PR measurement. Now there are some 350 companies providing some form of social or traditional media analysis. We used to think that just having data was enough. Now we have more data any anyone knows what to do with.”

I cannot foresee better than anyone else (and lots of anyones are writing about it) how the POG merger will shake out. But it seems clear to me that the implications – the inevitability – of dealing with data about transactions and communications surrounding transactions is the core challenge for the future of marcom services. Like POG or not. The argument for small agencies is attractive (like the American small family farm?) – but when clients are monitoring response to alternative creative executions, in real time, and changing media buys immediately for maximum return, it suggests different definitions of “nimble.” Katie Paine’s experience is revealing: in many ways, she’s won the battle – her corner of the industry has accepted the premise that she fought for, and the bigger data, technology companies have gobbled up the business.

The emergent digital divide in marcom services is technological and financial and social. Dan Wieden and Katie Paine are still going to do OK; because of their long-established personal credentials, they will still be sought after by deeper-pocketed clients to plan and guide marcom initiatives. But what are the options for small enterprises (clients) and truly small marcom businesses – that don’t today have either the big data clout of POG or IBM or the guru status of Wieden and Paine?

The emerging divide in marcom services has always been implicit in the industry, but it is starker than ever. It is between the would-be-decision-makers who have evidence (methodically sound, according to state-of-the-art capabilities) versus the would-be-decision-makers who are still stuck flying by the seat of their pants. Smaller marcom businesses – and, much more importantly for the economy and the country-- smaller enterprises and non-profit organizations, are a long way from benefiting from the promise of big data.

With so much information that can now be had – the gap between the data Haves and Have Nots may well be the defining factor, and marcom battleground, for the foreseeable future.

This post was published at
CommPRO.biz on August 6, 2013




Monday, July 15, 2013

Doubt. Discern. Decide.

Bronze monument of Kaibara Ekken (1630-1714)
at his gravesite in the Kinryu-Temple,
Fukuoka City, Japan
My newest enthusiasm -- and my newest discovery of the writer of textscapes -- is the early 18th century Japanese botanist and Neo-Confucianist philosopher, Kaibara Ekken (also known as Atsunobu and also occasionally referred to as the Aristotle of Japan.) Kaibara upholds a reformist Confucianism -- harking back (in his mind) to Confucius and Mencius rather than to the more familiar (in his era) Song Dynasty Confucians. Most strikingly, Kaibara argues that the full realization of Qi, or the material force of life, is never just through contemplation (inwardness), as he understands Taoism and Buddhism; for Kaibara, full realization of life must also come through engagement in public life and relationships of all kinds.

That public engagement requires a full, active, and aggressive examination of the world around us and all of our received knowledge.  He argues, in a sense, for the necessity to "make it (whatever -- your culture, your state, your religion) your own."  His great dictum / advice is that we must all "doubt, discern, and then decide."

The Preface to his The Record of Great Doubts is an inspiration.

"An earlier Confucian said, 'In learning it is regrettable if we do not have doubts. If we doubt there will be advancement and consequently we will learn. Beginning students can not understand every aspect of what they study. Accordingly, it is essential to have doubts in pursuing the way of learning. Indeed, doubts should be respected, for without them one won't make progress.' As Zhu Xi said, 'It is important for those who do not usually doubt to have doubts, and it is necessary for those who have doubts to resolve them.' He also noted that 'if our doubt is great, our progress will be significant; if our doubt is small, our progress will be insignificant. If we don't have doubts we won't progress.'

"In my humble opinion, after one studies one begins to doubt; after one doubts one starts to raise questions; after one questions one begins to reflect; and after one reflects one finally understands. The way of learning should follow this pattern. For example, the learning process can be compared to walking down a road. If we walk for a while without stopping, we will inevitably come to pa point where the road divides and we won't know which way to go. At this point we will have doubts and, being confused, we will be unable to proceed. Thus we just ask for directions. Yet if we don't walk on the path, how will we have doubts? Presumably, it is because we proceed along the road without stopping that we have doubts and questions Indeed, for this reason the ancient scholars combined the idea of learning and questioning.

"From the age of fourteen or fifteen, I set my mind on the learning of the sages. From my youth I have read the books of the Song Confucians and have devoted myself to their teachings. For a long time I took them as the greatest models. I have also had great doubts but, lacking sufficient understanding, I have not been able to dispel them, or did I have an enlightened teacher whom I could question. Now, as I have become older, I have even less ability to resolve my perplexities. For more than thirty years I have continued to ponder deeply, but it is my greatest regret that I still harbor doubts within myself and cannot fully comprehend certain teachings. For the present I will describe my misgivings here in the hope of being enlightened by more knowledgeable scholars. How can I possibly claim that my ideas alone are correct and defined my own views against those of scholars of earlier generations?"

Kaibara Atsunobu [Ekken]
Written at the vernal equinox, 1713
(He was eighty-four years old, about a year before his death.)

Translation from The Philosophy of Qi: The Record of Great Doubts, by Mary Evelyn Tucker (Columbia University Press, 2012).

Monday, July 8, 2013

Whither content marketing -- or how the latest battle between advertising and public relations is remaking how we all think about institutional communications

Advertising and PR agencies are just fated to fight each other, continually, for “territory” (a.k.a. clients’ money — a.k.a. a credible, exclusive claim to a communications tactic, channel, or technology). The battleground of the moment is, of course, content marketing (a.k.a. branded content, a.k.a. native advertising, etc.)

Such a plethora of a.k.a.’s suggests something inconclusive is in the works.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced June 6th that a little definition is in order. Susan Borst, IAB’s Director of Industry Initiatives, blogged about IAB’s new Native Advertising Task Force (over 50 member companies and over 60 individual participants) with its aim “to establish a framework for the native advertising space by putting forth a prospectus that clearly lays out today’s ‘native’ landscape.” And, IAB also kicked off a Content Marketing Task Force (with 25+ member companies and about the same number of individual participants). (Ad Week picked up on the ironies of IAB’s attempts “to bring some clarity to the Babel-like confusion” by noting that “it’s unclear if the latter [Content Marketing Task Force] is a cousin to or umbrella of the first [Native Advertising Task Force].” Cousin — umbrella — we can’t even get our metaphors on the same page.

By the way — no PR firms on either IAB task force.

IAB obviously hadn’t read Forrester Research’s Laura Ramos’ blog from May 6th: “The Role of PR in Content Marketing and Thought Leadership.” Ramos calls out the argument for PR to lead the content marketing charge: “. . . the advantages of PR to stimulate conversation, engage in two-way interactions, and develop interesting story lines that involve the intended audience are a natural fit for creating great marketing in this new digital world.” Ramos gives kudos to Richard Edelman’s evolving stance, most recently sketched out in his April 30th 6 A.M. blog post, “The New Look of Public Relations — A Dissenting View.” in which he discusses his agency’s intent to “expand the remit of the public relations business . . . to take full advantage of the inherent advantages of PR, which are credibility, speed, two-way interaction and continuous story creation.”

Edelman had set many PR people buzzing (some grumbling) earlier, back on January 7th, with his 6 A.M. blog post, “Paid Media — A Change of Heart,” in which he gingerly, but “unafraid,” embraced the brave new world of paid content: “I can assure you that Edelman will be at the bleeding edge of aiming for the right thing, unafraid of the wrong thing.” (The “right thing” he refers to there, that he is edge-bleeding towards, is “‘own-able’ insight” that is to be “co-produce[d] content with media companies.”) (PRNewser’s report made this sound a bit like going over to the Dark Side: “Edelman Switches Sides, Joins the ‘Paid Content’ Team.”)

Presumably, all this doesn’t mean PR is going the way of Buzzfeed. (Does it?) In the meantime, however, you’ll find the PR trades, the tip sheets, the boot camps and webinars are now providing non-stop, fully confident advice about how surely PR people can succeed wtth content marketing (I guess PR is ahead of the IAB after all, since advertising is only at the point of forming task forces?).

This is the point at which the blogger (wisely, humbly) must write, “Time will tell.” But a last reflection: this current battle between advertising and PR for ownership of content marketing is coalescing as a stand-off between Money/Scale vs. Righteousness (the much greater resources and infrastructure of advertising vs. the moral/authenticity claim of public relations). Was it ever so? Or is there some hint at a synthesis of a new institutional communications function that both demonstrably works and can have sustainable integrity?

This post was also
published at
CommPRO.biz,
July 8, 2013



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The science beneath the art of communications -- update, Spring 2013

Paul Holmes’ May 3rd blog, “10 Ways to Design the PR Agency of the Future,” (recently summarized here at IPR Conversations by Alyssa Hubbell on June 26th) challenged PR to put “big data at the center” and to provide “insight to drive meaningful creativity.” The scope of that challenge is hard to overstate, and it is a challenge that is not yet being met by other parts of the marketing communications and communications research industries.

The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) sponsored its annual Audience Measurement Conference, “Measuring the Unmeasured,” June 10-11, 2013 in New York for an upbeat crowd. Presentations were dominated by the major suppliers of the industry – Arbitron, comScore, GfK, Nielsen and a handful of others. Some distinguished, major advertisers (including AT&T, Bank of America, Diageo, Facebook) showcased impressive media research initiatives, and some of the leading media companies made appearances (ABC, NBC, Turner).

The explicit theme of the conference was that we live in a multi-platform world; consumer impact is never achieved through one channel, but by inputs (messages) from multiple sources or -- as it was most often characterized – screens (broadcast and cable TV, desktops, and mobile – both smartphones and tablets). The unspoken implicit perspective was that only screens (and occasionally radio) really matter anymore. That’s a fundamentally problematic unspoken proposition in a multi-channel, integrated communications ecosystem, but probably reflective of the roots and habits of the ARF members.

The confident vibe at the conference was probably rooted in the emerging sense from this ad research community that ‘We’ve got this under control.’ This same ARF conference in 2012 had for its theme, “The Measurement Crisis” – a far cry from the more self-assured theme, this year, of “Measuring the Unmeasured.”

You could hardly avoid the sense of social / digital / mobile media as having been tamed, after all, by the intrepid ad research community. ‘It took us some time. We were kind of shaken last year this time. But we marshaled our wits. We partnered with other companies – a bit of “united we stand; divided we fall.” We got a handle on this. We corralled all this pesky new consumer behavior and changing technologies into our methodological frameworks. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we pulled through.’ This cheekiness is well earned, as was particularly evident in some genuinely arresting case studies presented by ESPN, AT&T, Colgate-Palmolive, Facebook, and others.

But the ad research community doesn’t recognize how much more of the Unmeasured they haven’t measured yet. Most of the presentations – insightful and worthwhile – still see digital and social primarily for pushing out crafted, calculated messages, essentially as ad placement channels.

In this peculiarly screen-centric world of the ARF, there is surprisingly scant acknowledgement that those people at the receiving end of the screen sometimes talk back, and often talk to each other. It was ironic then that just a few days after the ARF conference, Ad Week published a report about data compiled by Zefr that provides a shockingly different perspective: “Of CoverGirl’s 251 million total views on YouTube, 249 million (or 99 percent) are from fan-created videos . . . 92 percent of Oreo’s views and 99 percent of Revlon’s views come from fan content.” It turns out that for many brands, and it seems increasingly more brands, creation and control of the brands are in the hands of the consumer: the screen-centric world turns out to work both directions after all.

By putting all that methodological sophistication and resources into a legacy sales channel (one-way communication) model, the ARF mindset is spending itself into decreasing relevance at least as fast, and much more expensively, as the PR industry. Accenture’s report on a global survey of 400+ CMOs at $1+ billion companies, “Turbulence for the CMO: Charting a Path for the Seamless Customer Experience” asserts that marketing communications budgets are increasing – by 20% or more annually – but that spend is not going to either the ad or the PR agencies. The CMOs in Accenture’s sample are spending on digital interaction and engagement: so, advertising, take heed – future dollars are not to be found in more efficient message delivery through this year’s most fashionable screen device.

And public relations, also take note: Accenture’s CMOs are rarely retaining PR agencies for any digital / social services. Less than 10% of any of these companies are working with PR agencies for social media monitoring, web analytics, customer insights, or even content management. PR agencies are clearly at the back of the pack behind specialized digital agencies and data-based marketing services, ad agencies, systems integrators (e.g., Infosys, IBM) and traditional management consultants (e.g., McKinsey).

It’s odd. Ad agencies, with lots of resources and methodological sophistication, are missing the same boat as are the PR agencies – which mostly do not have that kind of data and research fire power.

At the ARF conference I chatted with a friend, who should remain anonymous. The friend is the senior research and strategy executive at a global player ad agency, an agency every reader of this blog would know. My friend says, “This data, this comparative analysis of channels, is amazing – but it doesn’t tell me what to do! I can know how to coordinate my mobile, print, and TV buys for maximum reach – but I still don’t have any guidance about strategy or content.” Our conversation continued with long ruminations and how, practically, we should be putting big data at the center of our enterprise in order to provide the insights that drives meaningful creativity – and about the “science beneath the art of advertising and public relations.”

This post also appeared
July 2, 2013
on the Research Conversations blog
at the
Institute for Public Relations

A textscape writer of exquisite mind

William Dampier
For your summer reading, you cannot do better than A Pirate of Exquisite Mind: Explorer, Naturalist, and Buccaneer: The Life of William Dampier by Diana and Michael Preston (Berkeley Books, 2004).  Not because this biography is a great biography (I think it's not, for whatever my opinion is worth).  But William Dampier is an amazing historical figure ---

Just consider:

Dampier was one of the first (if not the first) "managers" (ship captains) of  enterprises that encircled the globe three times -- not for fun: but for profit, power, for understanding the world.  (Oops -- sorry, I forgot to mention -- in the 17th century.)  (This means: he was captain or had some other senior authority on expeditions of exploration / politics / theft (piracy) for a period of over 30 years.  From the time he was in his twenties into his sixties.). (Please note, AARP: this guy in the 17th century broke all records, etc., in his 20s and in his 60s.)

He was a naturalist whose observations and writings were internationally recognized as authoritative. Invented (of a sorts) the concepts of species and sub-species that was directly influential on Darwin (according to Darwin). He was a member of the Royal Society.

A hydrologist ( weather and currents and ) whose writings were consulted and authoritative two hundred years after his death.

Dampier was also, during some of his voyages, a pirate.  As well as an authorized and as a not-so-authorized agent of his government.  He was a speculator.  But he was an investor and speculator not sitting behind his Bloomberg terminal, but out there on the oceans chasing, literally the edge (not of the envelope, but) of the known world.

He was the author of several books which were massive best-sellers and influential (for the age). His writings were accepted as authoritative by the Royal Society and he is also widely acknowledged as a primary "source" for Daniel Defoe's and Jonathan Swift's fictions.

Dampier was brilliant, humane, and progressive  -- for his era, not racist, tolerant, open-minded regarding the peoples he encountered in South America, Asia, and Africa.  He was kind of an environmentalist.

He was also not a Saint: He was apparently sometimes a drunk (though he met a fairly high standard definition of a functioning alcoholic), personally abusive, and dictatorial to his staff/crew/fellow ship officers who weren't as smart as he was -- no tolerance at all for bad behavior (as he defined it).  He abandoned his wife (though conscientiously protected and provided for her financially) and did not father children (as far as we know).

Not a Royal or a Cambridge swell.  He went around the world --  not as a passenger -- but as an explorer and guide -- at a time when the concept of going around the world was almost unthinkable. He was a leading botanical / geographical / meteorological scientist of his time.  He was a best-selling author.  There is nothing like him today.

Dampier seems to be one of those guys like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin who are unbelievably talented and accomplished. But Dampier out-does Jefferson in Franklin in his physical bravado (he was, after all, for some years, literally a pirate of the Caribbean.)  He captains sailing expeditions (of trade, exploration/education, and piracy) at the farthest reaches of the known world (Jefferson and Franklin didn't get further than Paris -- not that I blame them.)

I don't want to say that William Dampier is a hero or model . . . but if you want to gain insight into the greatest experiences that humans can have (along with the Everest-climbers etc.) -- check out William Dampier.

Dampier's books were textscapes of the first order. He wrote about things that had never been written about before.  He wrote about things that advanced scientific knowledge for 200 years after his death. He wrote as he lived -- at the farthest boundaries of the known world: geographically, scientifically, personally/psychologically.  (It makes what I did over last weekend seem a little pale. . . . )



Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Paul Holmes' challenge for PR (communications) agencies of the future.

Paul Holmes
CEO, The Holmes Report
Editor-in-Chief, the Holmes Report
Paul Holmes at The Holmes Report blogged in May about the "10 Ways to Design the PR Agency of the Future." (Let's hope this is Paul in his role as Oracle, more than his role as Gadfly.)

It does not take a very deep-dive analysis into the PR agency industry to agree with Paul: ". . . many of them [PR agencies] have failed to integrate new ideas, new technologies and new media, into the way they do business-- often treating changes that ought to disrupt existing models as if they can simply be bolted on to the old model."

Every PR agency I know of, today, claims to "do" social media, but the vast majority of them have just bolted "social media" on (Paul's terminology) to their old model of doing business. (It's so obvious -- they've just added a Social tab to the website navigation bar which otherwise reads as it did in 2004).

Paul writes, ". . . many of the world's largest agencies, and a surprising number of midsized firms, continue to operate as if little has changed. Their infrastructure is a legacy from a different age, they have the same practice areas . . . , the same geographic structures, the same silos that served them (not always well) a decade or more ago."

Accenture's report
on 400+ seniormarketing execs:
"Turbulence for the CMO:Charting a Path
for theSeamless Customer Experience"
Keep that thought of Paul's in mind, and consider this: Accenture's report, "Turbulence for the CMO: Charting a Path for the Seamless Customer Experience" (April 2013), based on its 2012 CMO Insights survey (online survey across 10 countries with 405 senior execs who are "key marketing decision makers in their companies," most companies with revenues of at least US$1 billion).

These corporate decision makers were asked what types of external agencies they retain to lead critical marketing functions. Twenty-three functions were tested ranging from the business oriented (such as managing ROI), to web and social media (such as SEO, eMail marketing), data (marketing analytics, web analytics, customer data), paid media (paid search, media mix optimization, media/advertising optimization) and highest level strategy (brand strategy development, multi-channel campaign management, content management).

PR agencies are reported as being used for managing any of these functions by no more than 9% of the companies.  The agencies most often cited are the specialized digital agencies and data-based marketing services. Followed by ad agencies. Followed by systems integrators (Infosys, IBM, etc.). Followed by traditional management consultants (e.g., McKinsey).  Followed by, of yeah, PR agencies.

What does the following suggest to you about PR agencies' reputation among CMOs in the 21st century? Only 7% of the companies rely on PR agencies for social media monitoring. Only 5% of the companies rely on PR firms for web analytics.  Only 3% of companies rely on PR agencies for customer insights/analytics.  Only 6% of companies rely on PR agencies for content management.

No wonder Paul Holmes says the top three imperatives for PR agencies have to be:

1. Big data at the center
2. Insight to drive meaningful creativity
3. Understanding the human brain

(And, of course, there are seven more recommendations after that.  See the blog.)

The Accenture report outlines a "new CMO agenda":  1. Fundamentally change the marketing operating model. 2. Build new skills. 3. Get aligned with the right partners. 4. Drive digital orientation through the enterprise (and this last item does not mean Tweeting.)

My colleagues and I on the faculty of City College of New York's new Master's in Branding + Integrated Communications -- working, with great anticipation and enthusiasm, with the class of 2015 (our first -- classes starting in September) -- feel the urgency of taking Paul's and Accenture's insights very seriously.  We know our graduates will do just fine; the Accenture-surveyed CMOs expect 25% increase in budgets for digitally oriented marketing functions. The open question is whether much of "legacy" PR -- and advertising -- agency sector will be the places where these grads forge the successes of their careers.


This post is also published at bic-ccny-info, the blog for the new Master's of Professional Studies degree at the City college of New York, Media and Communications Arts Department.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Think you're in control of your brand? Think again.

Swiffer dancing
Ad Week today published a feature about a study by Zefr that has to make "brand managers" re-think their job security. (These people should probably start thinking of their jobs as "brand collaborators.")

"Of CoverGirl's 251 million total views on YouTube, 249 million (or 99 percent) are from fan-created videos, according to data compiled by Zefr. We see a similar trend with other leading brands: 92 percent of Oreo's views and 99 percent of Revlon's views come from fan content. Sometimes, original fan videos go viral, causing lots of other fans to create their own version of the original video. Swiffer's commercial of a woman mopping her kitchen floor and breaking out into dance inspired a trend on YouTube. More than 150 people uploaded their own rendition of the 'Swiffer dance.'"

We first thought about consumer-generated video about a brand as being a threat (as in United Breaks Guitars with 12,129,137 views). But we're now finding that some consumers are equally motivated to post video appreciations (or at least good-natured ribbing) for their favorite brands.

The world probably hasn't changed. But we can see what's going on a lot more clearly. We have YouTube evidence that, indeed, consumers do build the brand -- often more so than do the brand managers, advertisers, and PR people.

It is ironic that this Ad Week story appeared just two days after the 2013 Advertising Research Foundation Audience Measurement Conference. The conference showcased many truly impressive research methodologies and strategies for measuring and evaluating the impact of screen-based media -- but with no focus, no attention, at all, to consumer-generated screen content. What can the analysis of CoverGirl's "official" screen-based media be worth, if those messages only account for 1% of the screen exposures? All the more reason for us to give more attention and thought to analytics that combine attention to social and paid media -- without putting them together, you could easily not have a clue what's really going on out there.

Going native in New York City

Native Plant Garden
New York Botanical Garden
The new Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden designed by Oehme van Sweden Landscape Architects opened in May.












Darrel Morrison
Designer, Native Flora Garden
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's new Native Flora Garden, designed by Darrel Morrison, opens to the public today, May 13.

More reflections on going native in New York soon.




PR agency business model will change -- driven by analytics -- clients will demand it

Mark Stouse
VP, Global Communications
BMC Software
Mark Stouse, VP, Global Communications, at BMC Software, writes in the June 2013 PR Week, about changes in the PR agency business model that, he thinks, are coming:

"Agencies must be a lot picker about who they bring in. Clients want teams with more smarts and less on-the-job training. This change will drive a new financial model. Firms have not invested enough in analytics-driven programs, preferring to leverage their people's industry knowledge. We're in the era of big data. The trust gap between an educated guess and real insight is deepening. The consequences of getting caught on the wrong side will be huge.

"As part of a new model, agencies must integrate strong analytics capable of informing and maximizing a campaign's impact. Leveraging smaller, smarter, more powerful teams will be key to future success.

"Agency rates are tied to labor costs, which is no guarantor of value. Time and materials billing is a dead man walking. It is being swept aside by flat quarterly fees and piped into analytics."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

New guidelines for social media measurement based on the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework

Angela Jeffrey
President, Angela Jeffrey & Associates LLC
Angela Jeffrey, president of Angela Jeffrey & Associates LLC / MeasurementMatch.com and member of the Institute for Public Relations Measurement Commission has published new, very user-friendly approach for social media measurement: Social Media Measurement: A Step-by-step Approach."

The document, published by the Institute for Public Relations, outlines an 8-step process (clear and sensible -- even your boss can understand it) that is based on the AMEC Valid Metrics Framework, a set of best practices for PR and communications practitioners and research suppliers that has evolved over the past few years following the adoption of The Barcelona Principles, a set of principles/standards for all PR measurement that was adopted at a conference in Barcelona in the spring of 2010 and subsequently widely promoted by AMEC (International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of communication).

Slowly, but surely, real measurement and analysis are being integrated in the U.S. public relations practice -- much to the credit of people like Jeffrey and the advocacy initiatives of AMEC and the Institute for Public Relations Measurement Commission.

Before mid-summer heat: late spring fulfilled


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Taking measure of the measurers: the 2013 Advertising Research Foundation Audience Measurement Conference

The Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) sponsored its annual Audience Measurement Conference, “Measuring the Unmeasured,” June 10-11, 2013 in New York for an enthusiastic and optimistic crowd. Presentations were, as typical of such conferences, dominated by the major suppliers of the industry – Arbitron, comScore, GfK, Nielsen and a handful of others. Some distinguished, major advertisers (including AT&T, Bank of America, Diageo, Facebook) were present to showcase impressive media research initiatives, and some of the leading media companies made appearances (ABC, NBC, Turner). Ad agencies were notable only for how few attended, and PR people were missing in action. (All company lists are illustrative only; others attended.)

The demographics of the presenters and attendees are remarkable in light of the dominant theme (implicit and often explicit) of most of the conference: we live in a multi-platform world; consumer impact is never achieved through one channel, but by inputs (messages) from multiple sources or -- as it was most often characterized – Screens (broadcast and cable TV, desktops, and mobile – both smartphones and tablets). Intentionally or not, the unspoken dominating perspective was that only Screens (and occasionally radio) really matter anymore. That’s a fundamentally problematic unspoken proposition in a multi-channel, integrated communications ecosystem, but probably reflective of the roots and habits of the ARF members.

The focus on Screens also dominated the implied reference in the title of the conference to “the Unmeasured.” The vast majority of the content at the conference focused on how to identify, monitor, analyze, and assign value to Screens and the behaviors of people behind screens. The work being done in this area is without a moment’s doubt very impressive. Considering the concept of multiple Screens barely existed three years ago, the ARF community has jumped into this huge change in the environment and developed some fairly awesome initiatives to track, understand, and evaluate the impact of Screens on consumer markets.

One of the kick-off presentations by Artie Bulgrin, SVP Research + Analytics at ESPN, was illustrative of much of what was presented across the two days. ESPN is undertaking a significant on-going to initiative to track ESPN consumers across five platforms: TV, PCs, smartphones, tablets, and radio (See ESPN announcement.) Bulgrin and his team have put together an array of the leading research industry providers for a custom-built methodology to answer ESPN’s 5-platform questions. Throughout the conference, one example after another highlighted major advertisers putting together collaborations of research suppliers to custom-build data sets that can help develop insights into how consumers are using, and being influenced, by the Screens.

The confidence and cheerfulness of the conference was probably rooted in the emerging sense from this ad research community that ‘We’ve got this under control.’ This same ARF conference in 2012 had for its theme, “The Measurement Crisis” – a far cry from the more self-assured (a little swagger?) 2013 theme of “Measuring the Unmeasured.”

You could hardly avoid the sense of social / digital / mobile media as having been tamed, after all, by the persevering and intrepid ad research community. ‘It took us some time. We were kind of shaken last year this time. But we marshaled our wits and our resources. We partnered with other companies – a bit of “united we stand; divided we fall.” But we got a handle on this. We corralled all this pesky new consumer behavior and changing technologies into our methodological frameworks. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we pulled through.’

This cheekiness is well earned, as was particularly evident in the arresting case studies presented, not only by ESPN, but by AT&T, Bank of America, Colgate-Palmolive, Facebook, and others. But the ad research community doesn’t recognize how much more of the Unmeasured they haven’t measured yet. Most of the presentations – insightful and worthwhile – still see digital and social primarily as channels for pushing out crafted, calculated messages, essentially as ad placement channels. Despite the lip service to engagement, there was virtually no discussion of what it actually means to engage (not just to send out minutely, exactly tailored messages and creative variants to exactly the right targeted people). Virtually no consideration of real online discussion or customer relationship management. One exception was the presentation from MotiveQuest, which – in the process of showcasing its Advocacy Index product – at least acknowledged the impact of (uncontrolled, independent, un-paid) brand enthusiasts.

A few side panels addressed the ‘unmeasured’ Hispanic market; one session at the end of the second day addressed local media (again, only Screens and radio). Those topics were clearly sidebars to the big story of the conference. Even more striking, there was not even a nod (pro forma or even dismissively or patronizingly) to any kind of earned media (public relations), non-screen word-of-mouth, or public events (for example – industry trade shows to cite the in-your-face example). The world of Measuring the Unmeasured is a peculiarly Screen-centric world. (But the ARF is the ARF, after all, and it’s rather beside the point to belabor it. When you go to the PR research conferences, you’d rarely get an acknowledgement that paid media has any impact.)

(Integrated marketing or integrated communications is not being integrated at the level of the ARF or the PR research community. More often you find that CMO or CEO perspective coming from the consultants and technology analysts. A blog post by Tobias Lee, CMO Thomson Reuters, Tax & Accounting Division, at COM.com serves as just one example of where integrated communications thinking is really present: “Critical to marketing today is integration across functional departments, such as sales, marketing, and customer service, and also across marketing mediums . . . with the right people, processes, and centralized technology, integrating your marketing efforts in the age of the social Web becomes much more feasible.” The consulting and tech firms are also stepping up with the real integrated or CMO perspective with products, just for one example, such as IBM’s enterprise marketing management suite for customer analytics and multi-, cross-channel campaign management.)

The really discordant, if entertaining, note at Measuring the Unmeasured, however, was the keynote speech. Bob Garfield, MediaPost columnist, NPR’s On the Media co-host, long-time former Advertising Age columnist, and author, most recently of Can’t Buy Me Like (Portfolio, 2013; co-authored with Doug Levy) delivered the Tuesday luncheon speech with good humor, color, and charm. And he essentially told the audience that their whole enterprise, their business and their industry, research-driven consumer advertising, is anachronistic and doomed (at least in the form that we all know it).

If the ARF concept of “social” is weak, Garfield’s concept of “social” is strong. One anecdote after another, in Can’t Buy Me Like, and in his keynote speech, called into the question the ultimate (and future) efficacy of advertising in effectively pushing messages out to receivers (by any Screen). He concluded his speech with a Santander Bank anecdote (recounted in detail in Chapter 10, Bank and Trust, of Can’t Buy Me Like) in which he claims that some funny-cute YouTube baby/kitten videos distributed courtesy of Santander had more positive consumer impact than three strategically conceived, professionally produced advertisements (read the book and decide for yourself).

Garfield, by implication, threw down the gauntlet: ‘Sorry. No, ad research community, you haven’t tamed social/digital media and brought it under your control. “Social” is about authenticity (real, not a researched, calculated and created, positioning of authenticity).’ Garfield’s challenge did not shorten the line of ad researchers, copy of Can’t Buy Me Like in hand, who waited over an hour for Garfield’s autograph.

This post is also published at commPRO.biz
June 11, 2013








Saturday, June 8, 2013

Whither content marketing -- or how the latest battle between advertising and public relations is remaking how we all think about institutional communications

Advertising and PR agencies are just fated to fight each other, continually, for "territory" (a.k.a. clients' money -- a.k.a. a credible, exclusive claim to a communications tactic, channel, or technology). The battleground of the moment is, of course, content marketing (a.k.a. branded content, a.k.a. native advertising, etc.)

Such a plethora of a.k.a.'s suggests something inconclusive is in the works.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) announced June 6th that a little definition is in order. Susan Borst, IAB's Director of Industry Initiatives, blogged about IAB's new Native Advertising Task Force (over 50 member companies and over 60 individual participants) with its aim "to establish a framework for the native advertising space by putting forth a prospectus that clearly lays out today's 'native' landscape." And, IAB also kicked off a Content Marketing Task Force (with 25+ member companies and about the same number of individual participants). (Ad Week picked up on the ironies of IAB's attempts "to bring some clarity to the Babel-like confusion" by noting that "it's unclear if the latter [Content Marketing Task Force] is a cousin to or umbrella of the first [Native Advertising Task Force]." Cousin -- umbrella -- we can't even get our metaphors on the same page.

By the way -- no PR firms on either IAB task force.

IAB obviously hadn't read Forrester Research's Laura Ramos' blog from May 6th: "The Role of PR in Content Marketing and Thought Leadership." Ramos calls out the argument for PR to lead the content marketing charge: ". . . the advantages of PR to stimulate conversation, engage in two-way interactions, and develop interesting story lines that involve the intended audience are a natural fit for creating great marketing in this new digital world." Ramos gives kudos to Richard Edelman's evolving stance, most recently sketched out in his April 30th 6 A.M. blog post, "The New Look of Public Relations -- A Dissenting View." in which he discusses his agency's intent to "expand the remit of the public relations business . . . to take full advantage of the inherent advantages of PR, which are credibility, speed, two-way interaction and continuous story creation."

Edelman had set many PR people buzzing (some grumbling) earlier, back on January 7th, with his 6 A.M. blog post, "Paid Media -- A Change of Heart," in which he gingerly, but "unafraid," embraced the brave new world of paid content: "I can assure you that Edelman will be at the bleeding edge of aiming for the right thing, unafraid of the wrong thing."  (The "right thing" he refers to there, that he is edge-bleeding towards,  is "'own-able' insight" that is to be "co-produce[d] content with media companies.") (PRNewser's report made this sound a bit like going over to the Dark Side: "Edelman Switches Sides, Joins the 'Paid Content' Team.")

Presumably, all this doesn't mean PR is going the way of Buzzfeed.  (Does it?) In the meantime, however, you'll find the PR trades, the tip sheets, the boot camps and webinars are now providing non-stop, fully confident advice about how surely PR people can succeed wtth content marketing (I guess PR is ahead of the IAB after all, since advertising is only at the point of  forming task forces?).

This is the point at which the blogger (wisely, humbly) must write, "Time will tell."  But a last reflection: this current battle between advertising and PR for ownership of content marketing is coalescing as a stand-off between Money/Scale  vs. Righteousness (the much greater resources and infrastructure of advertising vs. the moral/authenticity claim of public relations). Was it ever so? Or is there some hint at a synthesis of a new institutional communications function that both demonstrably works and can have sustainable integrity?



This post is also published at bic-ccny.info, the blog for the new Master's of Professional Studies degree at the City College of New York, Media and Communication Arts Department.