Getting to know you — Social Media Style

Posted on October 14, 2009. Filed under: Jazz, Public Relations Marketing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Today in my search for musical blogging inspiration, I decided just to close my eyes and thrust my hand into a CD shelf and pull one out at random. Spooky. I pulled out ‘Getting to Know You’ – an album by virtuoso jazz pianist Mulgrew Miller. Click to hear his interpretation of the title song which you may have first heard sung by children in The King and I.

Now anyone who read my last post knows that the featured artist was Mark Murphy. Today, by chance, we have another MM artist. You should all thank your lucky stars that I don’t have Marilyn Manson in my collection (except for Marilyn Manson fans, of course). And I don’t think that Mickey Mantle or Marilyn Monroe ever recorded anything of note – Happy Birthday Mr. President doesn’t count. Hopefully, we’ll break the MM streak next time. In fact, I give you my solemn promise.

What strikes me silly is the appropriateness of the ‘Getting to Know You’ theme. Ironically, that’s what we’re doing here. You’re getting to know me by my blogs and I’m getting to know you by your comments. The song title is a great metaphor for how we connect on the Web.

The other web and social media thing about this is that you’re getting to know the REAL me. As a PR person in the traditional practice of the profession, I was always behind the scenes. I’d cringe to find myself quoted in the media when it would have been more appropriate and informative in my view for my client to do the honors.

In terms of client representation, I think that still holds true. In terms of learning how to present and represent clients in a Web 2.0 world, there is something to be learned and altered.

Last week at Chris Brogan and Justin Levy’s Inbound Marketing Summit in Boston, I was speaking with Tim Marklein, Executive VP, Measurement & Strategy for Weber Shandwick. After a couple of presentations that pretty much declared PR dead and gone, Tim focused his presentation on advocacy, a PR approach that still has great merit. Not only that, but it translates perfectly into 2.0 PR representation.

As we conversed on what PR ideas are still applicable and which are gone, I offered that the content area is one where PR shines. We know how to ‘tell the story’. And we also make the case in a way that helps others feel comfortable endorsing our clients’ positions.

What else I shared with Tim – a concept he said he hadn’t heard in just that way before – is that as PR people we have been uber-protective of our clients. Probably, this gave birth to the notion of ‘spin’ – anathema to how I’ve always thought about client representation. As PR people we have an obligation to support – advocate – a client’s valuable point of view. It does not serve them well to adjust that view, fail to adjust it when necessary, or worse, fail to engage, in the face of external expectations, criticism or real life events. Over-protectiveness – smoothing it over – is particularly ill-suited to the Web 2.0 world where genuine human fallibility, mistakes, and vulnerability are valuable currency. In working with clients who want to engage on the Web, I encourage more real talk than corporate speak.

In other words, let’s really get to know each other. We’re basically good people. How bad can it be??

For those who are into today’s tune, personnel are, Mulgrew Miller, Steinway concert grand piano (should I put Steinway in the tags?), Richie Goods, bass, Karriem Riggins, drums, Big Black, congas, Steven Kroon, percussion.

Enjoy! See you soon!

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