I'm at the Crystal in London today for the FutureComms15 conference to see what the future has in store for PR. I'm going to try and live blog key take outs but you can also follow @Future_Comms and the hashtag #FC15 on Twitter for live updates.
Jonathan Bean, COO of mynewsdesk, is kicking off with a video talking about the importance of the connected community and how we need to reach the most people we can online if comm's are to be effective.
Jonathan believes agencies = creativity and resource. He is reminding the audiences that realtime content doesn't have to be difficult and that within comm's we need to dare to try new things.
Our first keynote speaker is Robert Rose, chief strategy officer for the Digital Marketing Institute who is now speaking on How Content Marketing Saves PR From A Little Less Doom And Gloom.
New platforms are dying before we even have a strategy for them
Robert is opening by stating that whatever we have learned about digital in the last two decades, it will all change again in the next five to ten years.
He's in a challenging mood talking about how PR is focused on influencing influencers with or without their cooperation and as such practitioners are not in the business of truth (lots of people in the audience disagreeing on Twitter).
Robert says if we want to be successful, that will only come with delivering value. His question to comm's professionals is how do we delight audiences with content-driven experiences? What magic do we actually deliver?
"I don't want realism, I want magic! Yes, magic. I try to give that to people. I don't tell truths, I tell what ought to be the truth." Blanche Dubois
Here comes some useful stuff. Robert is now talking through the evolution of customer relationship.
He is explaining how everything we know has been disrupted by digital (whatever industry or comm's discipline you're in).
With this expectations have changed and customer loyalty is now to the brand experience - not the product or service.
This matters because individuals are now their own media and have a voice on their chosen platforms where they will continue share their experience of your company, so you need to make sure this is a positive one.
Robert has just stated that PR is probably the most appropriate discipline to create differerentiated value at the storytelling level.
Experience must be the strategic differentiator
His belief is that we must get beyond organising by technology and platforms.
His advice is to look at function before form and to start with the right business case for content to exist. Robert documents the content mission as follows:
- What is our goal?
- Who can satisfy that goal?
- What valuable experience - separate from our products - can we deliver at a given stage of the customer journey?
- What makes our approach different from competitors?
He is now saying we have to properly manage the product of content:
- Map stories and experiences.
- Build content products, not campaigns.
- Operate like a media company and not like an internal agency.
Robert is underlining the point that this activity is not just about creating assets for a campaign and that practitioners need to adopt a different investment model. Content marketing is about creating increasing value OVER time.
Robert is culminating his talk by stating that content offers the opportunity to evolve PR, which could and should become the corporate storyteller.
The opportunity is there for the taking if practitioners give content a different value and make it the main driver and purpose of their work.