I have been always an experimenter so to speak with basic applied technology (that is to say, I use what I am comfortable with) for the past 10 years and found it pretty effective.

Ryze, Blog, Linkedin, Facebook & finally Twitter used it all. Some good, some bad but it all balances out.

And it was in 2009 that I kept hearing this “Social Media” being used very often. Gentleman from a company that I was consulting about their Online foray kept throwing it to me and soon enough their agency got into the act, giving me the whole nine yards.

Trying to understand the entire social media jungle, I started delving deeper into it – reading about it, meeting people, trying my little experiments that I have chronicled on this blog.

After having joined my current organization, I was bombarded by everyone (except the peon, receptionist & driver) about online strategies, social media (there again) & how PR would help.

In a bid to get away from all these I finally caved in & agreed to meet the shortlisted PR agencies (three in number). And there began my nightmares…

All of them came in with the CEO/VP; Account Director; Account Executive and practically the same Power Point Presentation of 30 plus slides which could be broken up as:

1-10 About their company & our company (straight lift from brouchere)
11-20 About PR snapshots – how it works, value vs straight advertisements etc.
21-30 Social Media – snap shots – print screen of some clients

None of them could answer the following basic questions that should have been internally prepared at their end:

1) Why have you not studied the client? (not even googled it properly)
2) Do you think the client 106 years old has no clue of PR
3) Did the PR brief not tell you client expectations? In which case where are they on any of the 30 slides
4) Social Media – nice meaning from a host of sites etc. But do you think we need it? What should be our strategy? (Answer was FaceBook, Twitter & mind you our Ecommerce site is yet to go up)
5) How would PR work keeping in mind the recommendations? (Sir, worked for our other clients)

Nowhere during the course of the three meetings was the work complete integration, interaction with old, new consumers, commitment used anywhere. Retainer mila, bus kaam ho gaya. And YES they are yet to get back on the questions asked.

I guess this may be one of the reasons that some of my agency friends, acquaintances avoid talking shop with me, which actually may be a good thing.

But that leaves one with a Question – Is PR harnessing the power of social networking sites & blogs to help businesses generate strategic mind share & presence. and If so how many Indian Brands have enjoyed the fruits till now.

I sure would welcome suggestions, criticism, inputs, thoughts on the above….it does not matter whether you understand social media or not; whether you are an agency or client.

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Written by AD
ex waiter, angadia, travel agent, dotcomer, dukaandaar, marketeer, people watcher. appreciates single malt, food, friends