Last night I spoke at NMK's Clients in the Wild event. It was broadly about how PRs can, could and should use social media. Nice event Ian, and a cracking quality crowd. The audience was a who's who of the UK PR blogosphere. I was up alongside Midnight's MD Sarah Ogden and social media agency Nixon McInnes' MD, Will McInnes, who is on most of the social networks himself. He's done some very cool stuff online. And the moderator was Roger Warner of Squiz and Velocity Partners.
Attendees who've blogged about it already have said how they thought it was a good event, and I'd agree. Lots of useful banter about metrics, measurement, control and all that. Ian Delaney, having organised the whole thing, has done a super report. Other write-ups have gone up online from Edelman's Simon Collister who was in the audience and chipped in a fair few times on some social media theory, as did his colleague Tim Callington (cool to meet Tim again - I have read his blog for a long time and only realised when we met again yesterday that we'd met before at a Microsoft gig). Alan Patrick asked a few questions on Facebook. Ben Maynard at Harvard made a good point on client counsel. Stephen Waddington at Rainier asked about revenues and profits of social media campaigns, but his colleague Tim Hoang did the blogging. Ged Carroll at Waggener Edstrom has done a great write-up, but sadly I missed catching up with him at the event. Other attendees like Giles Shorthouse at Webitpr and Lloyd Gofton have also blogged about what they thought. And someone from Cake had a fair bit to say too.
But the after-event buzz in the room and over email today was on how everyone avoided talking about elephant in the room. That elephant being the notion that ad/design/digital agencies are encroaching on PR turf and could potentially steal all our work, flattening our revenues and growth in tech PR. That this is a fundamental shift in what we're doing in our jobs. And that PRs are getting worried.
I'm seeing an entirely different room, and we're the elephants.
We have a massive opportunity to develop the right skills in cutting edge areas such as web 2.0, social media, word of mouth, call it what you will. People that do will be allowed to do develop very cool and applicable work, they'll be fun to work around and very useful to have on campaigns. I know guys like Simon, Stephen, Mikey and James must see what I mean. Now and over the past year or two, not just recent months. Being the elephant in this other room, I'm seeing there are marketing as well as PR plans, budgets and concepts on the table. So the grey are emerges between PR and digital media production. Some of us PRs upskill and learn how its done. But we're working too with people who can't and will never need to write a feature for a magazine or know which journalist to call at a newspaper for placing a story. But they can create digital content, build apps and make virals that are core to new campaigns from the beginning. The kind of stuff that as a whole package I really enjoy and am motivated by.