On Tuesday morning I participated in a PR News Thought Leaders Roundtable in Boston. The topic was "The Future of Integrated Communications." Over the course of a couple of hours about 15 senior level communicators from agencies and client organizations in the area talked about everything from the impact of social media on integrated communications, if integrated communications is really being implemented effectively anywhere, and what changes we can make or suggest in order to deliver more strategic, integrated marketing programs.
Diane Schwartz from PR News and Angela Jeffrey from VMS moderated the discussion. A couple of overarching conclusions came out of the discussion:
- message consistency across stakeholders is the holy grail and a key reason to put a priority on integrated marketing communications
- there aren’t an overwhelming number of great examples of truly integrated communications programs as companies struggle with logistics and politics, among other things, in order to make it happen
- social media must be integrated into the communications mix, but the degree of emphasis very much varies by audience and by industry. As an example, Kathy O’Reilly from Lycos had example after example of how she has very effectively integrated social media into her programs. On the other hand, Craig Martin from Feinstein Kean Healthcare and Steve Singer from Dana Farber Cancer Institute spoke of the risks and challenges inherent in blogging in particular given the highly regulated industry they are in
- blogging deserves exploration and focus from companies, while podcasting is not as hot as it was expected to become given the additional effort required to create and listen to a podcast and the fact that you can’t quickly scan podcasts like you can blog entries
It’s always great to sit in a room and hear both war stories and success stories from people in the same profession. I walked away with some new ideas about how to counsel clients on better integrating their communications efforts and further perspective on how social media is changing the world of PR and marketing. An upcoming issue of PR News will have much more comprehensive coverage of our discussion, and I will offer a link here when it’s available.
For now, here is a video of the panel’s moderator and PR News’ Vice President and Group Publisher, Diane Schwartz being interviewed about the PR industry and the impact of social media