Notes from Enterprise Marketing Meetup: The Future of PR. Thursday, July 22, 2021 via Zoom. Video recording is on Youtube.

Hosted by Shahin Khan and Doug Garnett
Guest: Jen Hartmann, Director of PR and Social Media, John Deere

20 years ago PR would have had time to gather the facts before making a statement. Now it’s on social media immediately.

Future of media standards. We can’t rely on citizen journalism to tell the story.

Leaders going directly to media. They are not PR experts. PR adds value:

  • Messaging strategy
  • Consistency
  • Preparation
  • Self-awareness
  • Media interview skill set

Pain tolerance. It is inevitable that there will be trolls, haters. Respond in an appropriate manner, not overreact to it.

You can’t only be reacting to negative stories. You have to build a bank of positive stories to build the brand.

In the past, the story lasted in the newspaper for a day. Now they last forever on the Internet. Never goes away.

Shahin: Tension between writing for search engines and writing for human consumption.

The proliferation of the number of channels, number of different audiences. Not just press relations anymore.

Twitter. Direct connections. Twitter is the natural place to have those conversations.

The PR practitioner as THE spokesperson is going by the wayside. Media wants access to the subject matter expert. People don’t want a filter. Hear from the source.

The exception is a crisis. Manage timely, relevant, factual information.

The best defense is strong offense.  (Establish trust. Brand equity.) PR practitioners needs to establish themselves as to be that trusted source. PR practitioners are accountable.

PR and social media are intertwined. Not separate. Social media is one of the strongest offenses. Unpaid social media. Build communities.  Speak directly to your audiences.

It is incredibly difficult to build a brand from scratch. Influencers can help to amplify the message.

ESG – environment, sustainability, governance.  Becoming a requirement for investment.

“good company” – integrity, fiscal responsibility, community

Tierpoint. Diversity of your board. Diversity of your workplace.

Jen: One thing I would love to change. There’s not a lot of tolerance for companies to learn as they go. We’re such a reactive culture. Mob mentality to condemn. So you see brands pressured to make promises they can’t back up. It should be ok to say: “We may not be where we should be, but we’ve taken steps to get there.”

Important to have built trust.

PR as a spin engine vs authentically presenting the facts.

Edelman Trust Barometer.  People are looking to brands and CEOs to solve societal problems. Lack of trust in governments.

The world is demanding responses immediately. Mob mentality.

There’s pressure to take a position. I’m not sure we should have to take a position on everything. Biden and Trump voters both buy lawn mowers.

Shahin: Data Supply Chain.  Onramps.

Chris Kruell: repetition is important. Not just producing large volume of new content.

Edelman PR talks about “media moments.”  No one cares what Deere wants to talk about. Deere needs to talk about what people are talking about.  Brands can make themselves more relevant if they talk about issues that are front and center right now.

If you are basically a B2B brand, why do you care about what the general public thinks about the company?  One answer is employee recruitment.


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