Throwing Out The Script: How Relationships Can Help Marketers Shape The Digital Age

Group of people on a train looking down at their phones. AI-generated image created by Adobe Firefly.

Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Email, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Tumblr, WordPress, and YouTube … all tools belonging to the world of social media. For marketers and those in the communication space, these are services that we’re looking out for because it’s going to help spread our message to as many people as possible. But for a few marketers, the idea isn’t about actual impact, it’s about following the same marketing behaviors time and time again. We’re swept up in the age of technology and trying out the next shiny object that we’re oblivious to what matters: human relationships.

Bringing Humanity Back in Relationships

In a new ebook, digital analyst and author Brian Solis lays out that amid all of the hoopla marketers bestow on the latest and greatest service, one thing that we need to be focused on is the relationships that we have with our customers, partners, and shareholders. This “manifesto”, as Solis calls it, seeks to take back the “P” in PR and infuse in it new energy centered around not dealing with the press or media, but rather about just forming engaging and life-long conversations with the people who are interested and might give a damn about what you’re selling.

What If PR Stood for People and Relationships? sounds pretty straightforward, but it’s also a bit bold in its approach. It’s focused on the individual, not the industry. In a way, it’s different from his previous book Putting the Public Back in Public Relations which was released in 2009. One could consider this ebook to be more about preemptively teaching marketers how to break bad habits before they’re even formed.

In this 39-page document, Solis goes on to somewhat chastise the current paradigm where people are flocking to marketing automation services, leveraging mass personalization platforms, and becoming enamored with the latest thing social media-related (looking at you, Ello). and more. The world has become more about the technology than it has about the people! It’s almost like we’re in the Matrix where the people fuel our need for more and more technology.

Well, time to put the kabash on that world.

‘Strive not to be a success but rather to be of value’

This quote from Albert Einstein is referenced in Solis’ ebook and is a great summary of his point. There was a reason why a marketer became a marketer: you’re good at understanding people and relating to them. But it’s not the tools that you’re using that’s going to get them to appreciate your conversation or even buy the product (just because you have a Twitter account doesn’t mean it’ll lead to sales). It’s the content that you’re producing that will have an impact. Content isn’t technology.

As alluded to earlier, “What if PR Stood for Public and Relationships?” isn’t an industry-focused publication. Instead, it’s centered around empowering marketers and anyone who is involved in external communications to be more human in their efforts. It involves taking time out of your day to go through the motions and make sure the mass email you’re about to send is personalized (not a flat “Dear Sir/Madam” salutation), or that every piece of marketing collateral is sent out with some care.

Act Like You Care

While not explicitly stated in the ebook, I’m guessing that “give a damn” is probably one of the underlined messages Solis was trying to get across. It’s a short read and this “manifesto” could be considered to be the legacy that he’s trying to impart on the world, shaking things up so that we’re not letting technology overwhelm us, but that we’re empowered to make a difference in our companies so that our team members remember that humans connecting with humans can lead to positive results.

The machines haven’t taken over the world yet … don’t let them. Humans rule.

What If PR Stood for People and Relationships By Brian Solis from Vocus

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