Walk through the networking area at the IABC International conference here in New Orleans, and you'd be forgiven if you thought you had mistakenly stepped into a new media event. Flat panel screens display models, hubs, portals, feed rooms, and video products that all promise to engage audiences more, track marketing better, and simplify PR and media relations.
In one analysis, this is the fork in the road for for communicators wrestling with the trusty old tools of engagement and the spanky new ones. Topics range from "Is corporate communications a thing of the past" to "Be Heard. Bringing a brand to life." to Building brands and community via e-marketing" to "The good the bad and the unethical." The booths for Melcrum and Ragan Communications, the American and British contenders for social media communicators' hubs are strategically located at different parts of the room. Everything you hear or see seems to have an 'e' factor, a global dimension, or a PR-meets-marketing angle. The lines are blurring. The oxygen of new media fills the room.
Terrific stuff. Invigorating to say the least. The coffee pots aren't conveniently located close to the meeting rooms, but even at 7.30 am, people seem incredibly alert.
Alan Scott's session on "The Blogging Explosion" had that kind of energy. Scott, the CMO of Dow Jones' Enterprise Media Group laid the usual groundwork with references to the Cluetrain Manifesto etc. The four trends we should be aware of are:
- Commodization & Competitiveness
- The New Message Battleground
- Buyers Reward Authenticity
- Markets are global conversations
What was interesting, and telling, was that the presentation turned into great participation. Questions posed by members of the audience were being answered by others. When Scott referenced Bub Lutz's blog he was corrected by someone from GM.
The blogging explosion, Scott maintained was humanizing the corporation; better, it was providing insight via text mining --gold for CSR, corporate intelligence, PR, HR, Marketing, product groups, and Sales. The disruption (or it it upheaval? Or revolution?) is easy to see because you could buy a camera or car tires without paying any attention to the carefully crafted communications from the marketing, PR and web folk at those companies. You know, folks like us...
It reminded me of the words from song The revolution will not be televised:
The revolution will not go better with Coke.
The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.
The revolution will put you in the driver's seat.
And our seat belts are fastened, too.