Business is business

Social media; networking; social networking; business networking; the end of PR; social media has killed PR, PR is dead and we’re all reporters now…

A growing cliché

The list of clichéd phrases is limitless and growing fast. We’re all urged constantly to engage with customers, peers, colleagues, KBIs, brand specifiers and gurus. We’re told to be in a network; to be the network, told how to be the connector in our network. Meanwhile experts on social networking seek to break down the old rules of business, to empower us to bring our customers into our networks and to speak to them directly.

Back in the day

Back in 1998 I went to a Business Online conference in Amsterdam with my then employer Cambridge Consultants and management consultancy Arthur D Little. Of all that I heard, I still remember one thing in particular. It’s a mantra that is as valid for the present times as it was back then: business is business.

The speaker pointed out that the lesson learnt, so far (1998), was that electronic communication and electronic commerce had changed nothing. Business still required certain fundamentals: a value proposition offered in the most appropriate way to a customer with an identifiable need.  There still needed to be an exchange of value. The mechanism— online, offline, high street or internet – was almost trivial compared to the importance of creating products that satisfy real need, and then communicating that value to customers. But while the internet had changed nothing about business it had offered an alternative route to market.

New PR

It’s the same with social networking, face-to-face networking, blogging and all the other things that we’re all doing in increasing amounts. It’s not a different business model. Nor is it the death of PR. It’s just a new way of doing PR and a new route to the ears that can influence our business prospects.

Given that social media is a part of a PR plan, which is part of a marketing plan, it’s worth making sure that you’re clear about your objectives before you start. And that means understanding your value proposition.

If you're finding it tricky to frame that in words, it might be worth getting some help. We’re always available for a chat.