Highlights of PRmoment’s PR in a Digital World Conference

PR in a Digital World Conference sponsored by   

On Thursday 22nd April, some top-level PR professionals got together at PRmoment.com’s PR in a Digital World Conference. The event was held at Ketchum Pleon’s lovely (and sunny) offices.

The speaker line up included:

James Tutt, PR manager at Microsoft, talked through the launch of Windows 7 in the UK. Justin Gale, world wide digital strategy manager at HP, outlined how PR and SEO are rapidly becoming interlinked, and Ian Williams, director of communications at moneysupermarket.com, suggested that PROs’ attitude towards social media should be “try it, if it works do it again tomorrow, if it doesn’t, don’t.“ Fernando Rizo, head of digital, Ketchum Pleon, charted the evolution of communications technology leading up to the current state of web culture.

The event was chaired by Diageo’s effervescent director of communications Stephen Doherty.

In terms of outcomes, it’s always tough to summarise four hours of top-level speakers in a couple of paragraphs, but here goes:

1. Digital and social media are still new; PROs are well placed to help clients move into this space. That said, because all this stuff is recent, no-one has nailed it yet, and if they tell you they have, they are probably insecure and definitely lying!

2. Don’t be an island: Integration is an often used but vital word. The boundaries between the marketing disciplines are much reduced these days. The Ad guys, the PR guys, the Digital guys, and the SEO guys should all work together. They might even be part of the same team. They might even be the same person/people in some organisations.

3. SEO is a massive opportunity for PR. SEO guys need PR and PR people need SEO. Work together; it’s just better for everyone.

4. PR needs more geeks! (Courtesy of Ketchum Pleon’s Fernando Rizo.) But it’s hard to disagree!

5. Brands don’t have a choice about social media, it’s not a “shall we,” conversation with the MD, it’s a “our customers are communicating in this space and therefore, we must” conversation. And if your MD still isn’t listening, scare them. Tell them the implications of not communicating in this space could cost their brand its reputation, lose them sales, lose them market share and cost them a lot of money.

6. Things happen quick in digital media so small, empowered teams are essential. The days of allowing a week to get sign off are over.

7. Experiment. Test ideas – if it works, do it again tomorrow. If it doesn’t, bin it.

8. And finally, there didn’t seem a huge correlation between spending huge amounts of money on digital media campaigns and getting great returns. Lots of little ideas/steps forward is probably the way to go.

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