I was having a really interesting conversation with Denis Koltsov of BREC and Katie O’Connor of C-Tech Innovation at The Daresbury Innovation Centre recently.
Denis mentioned something very interesting about social media: it doesn’t forget!! Alright (you know that), but according to a Radio Four program he had listened to, we are not designed to remember everything.
Immediately my mind flashed back to the first day I saw the Internet (for some unknown reason). It was at the Cyber Cafe on Oxford Road Manchester: a highly impressive piece of branding and interior design as I recall.
I had heard Michael Heseltine bleat on about the “Super Information Highway,” but I hadn’t a clue what he was on about, and I suspect neither did he.
So I went in, took a pew, and was introduced.
I came out – and remember how slow and dull and primitive it was in 1994 – and rushed over to a family friend’s business in China Town. I exclaimed that I had seen something very special, and was given a generous and perplexed look.
I now get very agitated without broadband and my iPhone. I have worked in the Internet industry, traveled to the US (twice), I am able to work for myself and I am training in about two hours a professionals services practice and much more besides because of the Internet – it is quite incredible if you think about it.
George Dearsley, a Manchester based media trainer, sent me a great link about the iPad on The Guardian website, and I almost fell in love again: this is really going to revolutionise communications – one Dutch newspaper has taken the bold step of migrating its website based version onto the iPad as the main (and I think the only) means of diseminating its content.
Craig McGinty did warn me – I now believe.
I have been thinking about precedents to the wave of Internet marketing / SEOs that will down PR professionals if we don’t look out.
Consider the following:
Did TV destroy the cinemas? They did suffer for years (for a number of reasons) but when they were re-branded and marketed they gained a whole new audience. Cinema has become a vital industry again.
Another example. Did mail order catalogues destroy shops? I am sure it was muted when they started to make an impact, but how much do we use catalogues now?
Clicks and mortars doing the same thing to shops once again in the tech boom? Yes these all have an impact, after broadband arrived in force. My camera shop is now the base for a Internet based camera business and Jessops across the road won’t be there much longer based on how it is doing. But look at rent hikes and supermarkets and their impact on many retailers. Nevertheless shops remain, of course.
I have been watching The Money Programme about changes in the media.
Television has been under pressure from the Internet and drops in advertising spending, some transferring budgets online. But it is seeing new models emerge. TV is not only being forced to live with the Internet, it is also learning to use the Internet – one example being to generate interest in new markets abroad as it rolls out franchises of its hits and also to sell in programmes.
I am sure you can argue with some of my examples. After all it is a big subject and I am making gneralisations, but surely the best PRs will adapt, create new business modeals if necessary and learn to profit from the Internet.
Simon Wharton of online search marketing agency PushON is not one to shy away from offering strident, and often perceptive, statements on online marketing.
In this issue of NW Business Insider Simon makes no exception with his view on the common lack of understanding of the Internet amongst many PR and marketing agencies:
“Traditional PR and marketing needs a kick up the backside – a lot of it is hugely dated. PR and marketing agencies don’t understand the Internet.”
“A lot of Manchester PR agencies are absolute rubbish – saying you’re a full-service agency is just words.”
Sharon Nash of Simpson Burgess Nash and Mike Ryan of Idaho, who I pitched to get featured, are less controversial in their comments but no less interesting can be seen in the November issue.