Ian Lipner and I presented about the changing media landscape and how that is impacting public relations. One of the key messages I wanted to get across for the team was the opportunity dynamics like changing media consumption patterns, new technologies and new advertising models present for communicators. These trends bring uncertainty, and the ability to help guide companies through those turbulent waters is a huge opportunity.
This is especially important for those new to the industry. These trends are a great leveler which everyone in PR is still learning about, so even PROs with just a few years’ experience can be on a par with the veterans. My message then was to understand the dynamics facing companies and the media, look at where people get their information from and what influences their buying decisions, embrace new technologies through hands-on experimentation and to enjoy being part of an industry in transformation.
I also did some more hands on training about listening tools such a Technorati, PubSub and BlogPulse. It was good to see the interest about RSS and blogging and how even just these two technologies are impacting day-to-day PR. Lots of questions about PR’s role in reaching out to bloggers on companies’ behalf, best practices, war stories. Lots of reported feedback from clients questioning its value which shows how early we are in the adoption cycle. It’s analogous to having to substantiate the benefit of online coverage versus print a few years back. Now look how attitudes have changed – the online coverage is in many cases more valuable in generating sales and site traffic.
We spent the afternoon with a LEWIS Olympics of childhood games, such as egg and spoon races, tug of war, sack racing, water balloon throwing and the game where you twist round a broomstick and then sprint 50 meters to the finish. These are my favorite type of group activity since it brings out people’s personalities and unites them through a sheer sense of fun. No corporate yachting, golfing, or outdoor adventure scheme can touch it in creating a sense of unity. There’s nothing like making a fool of yourself in front of co-workers to bring a team together.
By contrast, we ended the day in one of San Diego’s best bars for a cocktail overload and display of dreadful dancing. I’ve put some pix of the sports up on the Flickr site, and will track down some shots from the evening which prove Napoleon Dynamite ain’t got nothing to worry about with this lot strutting their stuff.