June 30th, 2011
Here are a collection of small-bite thoughts to lead into the big July 4 BBQ weekend:
We’re At War!
Apparently, I get the news late. As my colleague Katie Peterson pointed out this week on Pass The Mic, PR people are at war with journalists, and we are all slimes. The common battle cries of both truly entertaining articles are that PR people now outnumber journalists about 3-1 and that Facebook’s just-plain-wrong approach to anti-Google communications makes all of us in PR “brazen, urban foxes.” Well, then. Hey, I agree that antics of Facebook and its PR team make the entire profession look bad. I also understand exactly why both media outlets would attack based on those antics. But war? Really? The Economist piece doesn’t really offer any new fodder in its blow back on PR. All of that has been said before, some of it is true and some of it is off. I expect there really are more PR people than journalists these days. There are definitely fewer media folks around today than five years ago. Some of that is the fault of the media itself. But, notice that I didn’t say PR professionals? Important distinction. Not everybody in every profession is good at what they do. PR has its fair share of not-so-good practitioners. Unfortunately, bad work in our world is much easier to see than work done in a back office. I was taught from Day One that the role of the PR professional is to make the life of a journalist easier. Not all of us do that well and it’s not always easy to do. Doing stupid things deserves to be called out. But I don’t think that makes me an urban fox. Naturally, a doubleheader attack on PR draws rebuttals. It was too bad those in our line of work couldn’t have mustered a better counter. Frankly, I was a bit embarrassed by the response from practitioner Wendy Marx in Fast Company. While it may be an “exciting time” to be in the field, Marx’s rebut is shallow and doesn’t address the main points of either. If I have to be at war with anybody, I’d rather do battle with those who pull our profession down than overly-amped media people who rightfully point out our missteps.
Two More Reasons Journalists Are Outnumbered
We recently welcomed two new members to the McGrath/Power team – Ana Fort Walker and Marta Weissenborn. Ana comes on board as a director with diverse technology and agency experience and Marta joins us as an account coordinator after working in event communications for the City of San Jose. We are fortunate to have both of these new team members and I can assure you that neither is a slime or an urban fox.
And Two New Clients As Well
Welcomes are also in order for two new McGrath/Power clients – Electronics For Imaging and Crowdflower. We are excited to work on behalf of both companies. EFI, a Silicon Valley mainstay for years in the digital printing market, is poised to eliminate some big headaches for all of us who rely on smart devices at work. Crowdflower is the leading provider of on-demand crowdsourced solutions serving some very big name companies. It is a cool market and a great story. Thanks to EFI and Crowdflower for letting us join their teams!
Let’s End With Drink
The Australian wine industry has battled its own PR problem over the past five years. Once a darling of those who enjoy big wines, the Aussies were doing quite well in the early part of this decade with well-made Shiraz. I bought into (literally) the style and overall vibe of the region and enjoyed drinking the wines and visiting the winemakers on a great trip down under. Then the bottom fell out due to over production, greed, drought and some poor efforts by good producers. Like many, I stopped buying Australian wines for all the reasons just mentioned and because my palate changed. The mark of any wine region or producer is how gracefully the product ages. While many Aussie wines were made to drink upon release, the high end producers (and many reviewers) promised a reward for cellaring. Other than Penfold’s epic Grange blend, I had my doubts if many of my purchases would hold up at the 10-year mark when real character emerges from great wines. I opened three 10-year-old Shirazes over the past six weeks and was very pleasantly surprised by the transformation of the 2001 E&E Black Pepper, Jim Barry’s Armagh and Torbreck’s Descendant. The Aussie wine industry has launched a new PR campaign to restore interest and faith in its product. It may not bring me back to my previous purchasing habits but I remain a believer in wines from this part of the world.