Are PR pros disrespecting their audiences? Or are PR pros being disrespected by all the suggestions that they don’t understand modern audiences?
A recent Forbes
article from Chris Perry poses the question of whether we’re disrespecting the crowd. We’re apparently living under the same principles that guided the fathers of public relations.
I haven’t kept count since the advent of social media, but this may be the millionth article I’ve read that questions whether we’re respecting the audience, understanding the audience or giving the audience exactly what it wants when it wants it all the time.
Every time I read one of these things I can’t help but feel like I'm living in an alternate universe. Sure, you can point to one of several isolated instances, as Perry does with J.P. Morgan’s #AskJPM disaster
, and use it to say, “See—we don’t respect the audience.”
But that’s only telling half the tale. My colleagues and I work hard to understand our respective audiences and produce content that resonates with them. Our brands spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to understand the audience and create content that speaks to them and deploy it . We have methods in place to listen to our audience around the clock and we respond to that feedback in a way that encourages an open dialogue. I know for a fact we aren’t alone in this approach. So, where’s the disrespect?
[RELATED: Ragan's new distance-learning site houses the most comprehensive video training library for corporate communicators.]
Perry quotes Douglas Rushkoff speaking at a conference. He writes
… organizational legacies prohibit the speed required for most institutions to identify, analyze and adapt to what’s happening around them. According to Rushkoff, the “feedback loops between organizations, their communications, and the public have become so tight that it’s impossible for them to parse cause and effect.” As a result, organizations must adapt to a new reality in which the quality of their own actions are the only controllable element.
Adapting to these new realities, of course, is easier said than done.
I’d say these aren’t “new realities,” but rather the reality that pacesetting brands have understood for the past few years. It’s not novel—it’s the reality.
What do you think, PR Daily
readers? Is PR still looking down on its audience, or are we past this argument?