Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - Why PR is Misunderstood and Misapplied

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Having been on the corporate side most of my career, I can tell you that the best way to do that, to convince management that they are leaving opportunities on the table is by showing them results. The mistake many make is not to hold themselves accountable in that sense, checking the box, if you will, and on occasion using "the client doesn't get it" as an excuse.

Besides changing the way we as PR professionals think, we must help the client evolve, too. Many clients are still stuck in the "write me a press release so I can get in the paper" mode. So when I talk with them about community events and opportunities to interact face-to-face with their customers, they say, "no thanks." Small businesses and professionals are still coming to the understanding / awareness of how the landscape has changed, so it's no wonder that classes of PR students are stuck in the same time-warp.

I've also advised clients to realize that PR is about customer service and listening, but they still see customer service as a role for a "recorder" of issues, not an empowered thinker.

Valeria, I agree with you in all that you've said, but whole universe has changed and I hope our clients will listen more to our counsel, rather than ask for what they know from 5 years ago.

@Adam - well, then, my job is done :)

@Nikki - communications and digital marketing need to work together with customer support and service for social to really pay off with organizations. There are so many opportunities for building on top of each other that go unexplored otherwise. After years of silos and entrenched processes or lack thereof, this is a challenging proposition and it requires visionaries all around. I agree, CS teams understand better than any other group what customers think about and are used to one to one communications with them.

@Melody - a reality I experienced in may an organization. It makes no sense to perpetuate the practice. IT, management, communications, marketing, customer service should all be integrated in the process... the issue is in many organizations, they won't work together because of "who gets the cookie" or kudos/budgets, etc. from the top. In that case, I say it's about time we start looking for more collaborative management groups.

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  • Since 2006, Conversation Agent focuses on business, technology, digital culture, and human behavior. At Conversation Agent LLC, I help organizations and brands that want to build better experiences tell a new story.


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