Philip Sheldrake

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Reputation and Wikipedia, part II

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wikimedia_Foundation_RGB_logo_with_text.svgThe public relations profession and Wikipedia community have not enjoyed a productive relationship to date; antagonistic may be a more accurate adjective. For a quick overview of this situation, do take a look at my January 6th post, Reputation and Wikipedia.

For my part, I think I understand both parties' points of view and see no reason why good public relations practice (the planned and sustained effort to influence opinion and behaviour, and to be influenced similarly, in order to build mutual understanding and goodwill) shouldn't be employed to build bridges here.

CREWE

The Facebook group, Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement, has quite rightly stirred the pot, raising the profile of the issues involved. For those who practice public relations according to the definition in brackets above, Wikipedia can appear a frustrating community to work with. One asks: "Why, if I know facts on Wikipedia entries relating to my organisation / client are incorrect, can't I jump in and correct them?" There are two answers to that, but firstly an update on that process of building bridges.

CIPR Guidance

PR Week's Editor in Chief, Danny Rogers, called on the CIPR to clarify its guidance to members, and the profession more widely, on 18th January 2012 ("CIPR must set bar high on Wikipedia code"). Fortunately, the CIPR Social Media panel had already got its heads together to review the situation.

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The Business of Influence for REALLY BIG Digital Impact

Here's my slidestack for PRSA Digital Impact Conference (#PRSADiConf) today.

I hope it goes without saying that I'm happy to answer any questions this stack or my presentation today may raise, or just have a chat in general. Always my pleasure. My contact details are always easy to find on philipsheldrake.com.

Thanks of course to the PRSA team for the opportunity.

 

The REALLY BIG Digital Impact, at #PRSADiConf

PRSA Digital Impact Conference

I'm in New York today at the PRSA's Digital Impact Conference. In fact, I get the opportunity to present at 2.30pm this afternoon, and I'm really looking forward to it.

And the more I think about the conference title, Digital Impact, the more I've come to recognise that my presentation has two main thrusts...

First, most organisations don't yet feel the digital impact of 2012 fully. They haven't yet wholly adapted to today's social media and digital technologies.

Second, we haven't seen anything yet! The rate of change over the next five years will make the last five look like we were taking our sweet time. And that's what fascinates me and informs my presentation. This is the REALLY BIG digital impact!

When I presented at Dreamforce in San Francisco last year, the dominant phrase amongst delegates was Socialize the Enterprise. It's now time to make that happen, and I'm hoping we'll have a great #PRSADiConf dialogue this afternoon.

PRSA, defining PR

[Originally written for the CIPR Friday Roundup.]

"Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics."

And so concludes the PRSA's Public Relations Defined (#prdefined) initiative. Launched 30th October last year, the initiative has garnered considerable interest, both positive and negative.

On the positive front, I have seen considerable interest from practitioners, predominantly but not exclusively in the US as one might expect given the PRSA's geographic domain, grappling with the question of how to define what they do for a living with sincerity. No bad thing, particularly when some practitioners' perspective turns out to be, well, a little far off the mark. Read more

Why the meaning of PR shouldn’t be left to circumstance

This post specifically responds to a post by Eric Bryant, Director of Gnosis Arts, "an experience-driven public relations firm focusing on tech, social media & nonprofit PR" in the US. In the post, Eric addresses the PRSA's Defining PR initiative (see my last two blog posts) and asserts that the definition of anything is simply a function of how the term is used.

He writes:

"We chose this definition because we think it expresses what is both essential to public relations practice, as well as what distinguishes it from other management functions. Our definition also takes into account what most PRs do, most of the time, in carrying out their job duties."

And his company's definition is:

"Public relations is the practice of producing publicity (excluding promotional materials and paid advertising, which typically fall under the purview of Marketing); managing media relations and communications (typically among members of the Fourth Estate); and managing reputation."

First up, let me thank Eric for tweet-alerting me to his post. I particularly appreciate his diligent explanation of the definition, too often omitted by the more slapdash.

His firm's definition melds two 'what's and one 'why', reputation, justifying it on the basis of Wittgenstein's notion of "meaning as use" (ie, definitions are lent simply by the way a word or phrase is commonly used). While Wittgenstein's approach to language has its advocates, I'm not entirely clear it's helpful here, for two reasons.

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Public Relations Defined – the anatomy of a candidate definition, ver 0.2

PRSA PR Defined

[Written for the CIPR Friday Roundup]

Following the momentum the PRSA's #prdefined initiative is achieving, and the CIPR's statement of support, I thought I'd take a deeper dive into current definitions, and throw one in the mix myself.

I reproduced the section of my book that addresses the definitions of marketing and PR in my last post, and since then I've been able to have some insightful conversations, on- and off-line, with Jay O'Connor, Jon White, David Phillips and Terry Flynn.

Is it worth it?

There has been some valid criticism of the PRSA initiative pivoting around the question: shouldn't we invest time and energy in improving practice to live up to current definitions than review those definitions we already have? The counter to this argument is apparent for those tracking the thousands of comments on line; it appears that more than a few practitioners indirectly criticised by those holding this point of view are actually questioning their own appreciation of public relations, if not actively revising it.

CIPR definition

PR is the discipline that looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organization and its publics.

My favourite definition, no word of a lie! I obviously love the reference to influence, but also the apparently unique and skilful avoidance (intended or otherwise) of communication, thereby emphasising the objective not the means. But when 'reality is perception', as is increasingly the case with the radical transparency lent by social media, reputation is built by everything an organisation does (or indeed does not do), not just what the PR team does; every one must be involved in "looking after" reputation. Read more

Public Relations Defined – The PRSA invites you to help set a new definition of PR

Here's how the corresponding blog post by the PRSA describes its "Public Relations Defined" initiative:

As part of its mission to advance the public relations profession and professional, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has introduced a new initiative to modernize the definition of public relations and increase its value. As the digital age has caused significant shifts in how organizations communicate internally and externally, a question frequently asked by the public, media and practitioners is, "What is public relations?"

The PRSA explains the initiative in these simple terms:

Recent discussions, blog posts, tweets and mainstream articles have suggested that (1) public relations professionals (and, thus, the audiences we serve) continue to struggle with the question: "What is PR?"; (2) many industry professionals are unhappy with the current definitions; and (3) no one definition is considered "the" de facto industry definition.

What more justification do we need?

While my book The Business of Influence sets out to be a rethink of the 'influence disciplines', it starts by reviewing current definitions of marketing and PR. "Well, this book wants to map out a journey from A to B, and navigating to B is so much easier if we're all at A to begin with."

In hoping to contribute to the renewed debate, I've reproduced the book's definitions section here. Now all I need to do is work out if the PRSA will be open to a definition leaning on the Influence Scorecard and the role of Chief Influence Officer. What do you think? Read more

How many Tweets make a Like?

If you're looking for an acid test as to whether an organisation is centred in this social world, as to whether they have a marketing and communications strategy that integrates social media cogently and coherently rather than bolts it on, listen out for questions like this:

How much is a tweet / retweet / follower / friend / like / +1 / comment / whatevermetickle worth?

If this is the kind of question they're asking then, in my opinion, they simply don't yet 'get it'. If you're feeling particularly wicked, take your pick of one of these to respond to their question and see if they take you seriously:

  • $0.23 per hundred
  • A 'like' is definitely worth somewhere between 2 and 3 tweets; sort of around 2.42
  • A comment has an engagement quotient nine times that of a 'friend'
  • If you're in tech, then a +1 is currently five times more potent than a RT, but the reverse is true for other markets
  • That depends if you're B2B or B2C
  • Well, can I ask, is there any yellow in your logo?

In The Business of Influence (Chapter 5) I include the following table, titled "Maturity of influence approach". Read more

Ethics in PR Measurement

Shonali BurkeI took part in the #measurepr Twitter chat today on ethics in measurement. These chats are organised by Shonali Burke and her blog post "Influence: From BS to Best Practice" set the scene nicely.

At the most fundamental level, we were asking whether some of the techniques being deployed for PR measurement are compatible with the aspiration of public relations professionals to be transparent and authentic, and, more precisely, whether they are compatible with codes of conduct as published by the likes of the CIPR, PRSA and CPRS.

In one of my tweets I suggested a more straight forward test, what one might describe as a layman's test for those of us uneducated in the matters of ethics:

RT @kseniacoffman: Q2: Where do you go for best practices? <-- Ask your mum, siblings, neighbours what's acceptable to them!? #measurepr

At Shonali's invitation, I contributed the three questions posed today... Read more

An interview with Seth Godin – PR not publicity

Seth Godin

Seth Godin - www.flickr.com/photos/joi/4035933108/

Seth Godin is a perceptive individual. He spots things the rest of us are too busy to see, and then lets us know about them in an easily-digestible format. Sounds like a cracking formula for a best-selling author if you ask me... and of course he is.

With a dozen titles to his name, including Tribes, Meatball Sundae, perhaps most famously Permission Marketing, and most recently Linchpin, interviewing Seth was always going to be both entertaining and insightful.

Interview with Seth Godin

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