Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Giving up control and measuring it

I've been grateful to Dana Theus for her thoughts on Social Media PR and Measuring. Her Blog posting on such a topic correlates very much with my own thoughts on measuring that influence beyond the walled garden of control

Control of what you communicate ensures that the message gets through ,completely and unchanged, to those you intended. Control is therefore seen as good by traditional PR departments and marketer. Good in that it means you don't have to worry, in case something gets manipulated or filtered en-route.

But as soon as your message is delivered, it is out of your control. It is then: passed on, copied, quoted, analysed and regurgitated. It can eventually become so twisted from your original that it may even be unrecognisible to yourself when you get to read a subsequent version.

This was realised by the founders of modern PR. People such as Ivy Lee who is creditied with developing the Press Release establised the need for consistency in the message. This approach was then used thoughout the 20th Century.

However, in the modern information age, companies know (well the smart ones do anyway) that the tools and medium have changed. The rules of engagement, the langauge, the transparency and understanding have all led to a different philosophy and methods of communication. Also, the level of control has changed. People are now interacting with brands in different ways, creating their own information, from fan sites to hate blogs, and generating opinions & support from their peers or just those who share their view. Or to quote the UK Internet Advertising Bureau:

Marketing is no longer about simply maneuvering your brand through relatively
fixed relationships and channels; it’s now about setting it free. Unthink your brand.

Control of everything has been lost.

But in this very statement lies the answer. Just like a person that tries to please all the people all the time, you will fail. Its not about controlling everything, but only those things within your influence (and asserting the right amount of influcence on those things that require it).

The suggested approach is:
1. Plan before you start
2. Check the information your analytics package provides
3. Understand that you have a role in influencing

Post a Comment