My foray into new media began in 2006 when I approached our head of marketing with a proposal to integrate new media technologies into the company’s communications plans. Five years, a career change and dozens of clients later, I’ve been able to establish a way to predict which clients will be successful in their efforts. Those that are successful have strong leaders who are willing to tackle the most difficult job in the world: getting people out of their comfort zones and changing.
I’ve learned that largest inhibitor to finding this person involves misguided executives who turn to the usual suspects for advice:
- Public Relations folks who have more respect for the media than your media.
- Marketing folks who have always been rewarded for creating content that makes their internal as opposed to external audiences happy.
- Interns whose love for social media can’t overcome their handicaps of never carrying a bag, never having the responsibility of making payroll, or the inability to read a financial statement.
- An amalgamation of the previous three who have branded themselves as practitioners in social media.
Here’s my advice:
- Don’t choose a PR firm that simply bolts social media haphazardly onto its “capabilities chart.”
- Eliminate marketing professionals who seem more focused on product branding than customer needs.
- Raise an eyebrow when your intern starts using the term engagement a bit too enthusiastically.
- Run when your social media guru quotes their “fill-in-the-blank” score and suggests any campaign that doesn’t have great content at its core.
It takes a special breed of manager to deal with the people, process, and technology requirements associated with the wholesale adoption of new media. Communications strategies must be built by a strong individual who understand how the rules of communications have changed forever. This individual must have the leadership skills to not only make sweeping changes in both job descriptions and personnel, but must have the intestinal fortitude to stay the course in the face of adversity.
Perhaps you’re the right person for the job?