Sunday, June 10, 2007

PR by Any Other Name...

The other day, someone in a different "wing" of my agency was introducing me to one of his co-workers visiting Seattle from Silicon Valley. He mentioned she "did a lot of the same things I did," which I described to her as "blog and forum analysis, community outreach and building, and conversation monitoring." Her reply was, "oh, PR 2.0."

I've heard several terms for what it is I do, but PR 2.0 was a new one. Google revealed many instances of the term, so apparently it does exist. It sounds intentionally analogous to Web 2.0 to me. PR 2.0? Is that what we do, the next revision of PR?

I considered it, and no, I don't really think it's all that accurate. To me, it implies PR through tagging things and using RSS feeds to display varied content in a new space. It also sounds intentionally hip and technical, the kind of thing you might tell a potential client in a presentation to wow them and make them think "hey, these guys know what they're talking about." It's not as bad as one of my more loathed terms, "viral marketing," which reeks of nontransparent interaction and somehow tricking people into selling your product. Nor is it as neutral as "interactive solutions," which sounds like it could be just about anything online.

"New marketing" comes closest to accurately describing what we do without any negative connotations (except marketing, I suppose.) Yes, it's "new" but without the pretentious 2.0, and "marketing" at least implies that although we may be transparent, in the end we are still trying to help our clients sell their products.

It's kind of amusing that online marketing (hey, another term!) is in a place where we're using four (five!) different labels for what is essentially the same thing. It shows how nascent our industry still is, and even if I don't necessarily like some of those terms, I have to admit they're at least fairly creative descriptors.


Steve said...

Why not PR 2.1? :P

Seth Johsnon said...

I believe the 2.1 patch is still in beta testing.