“Killing the Buddha: PR 2.0 and Social Media Marketing Nirvana”

“Embrace nothing:
If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.
If you meet your father, kill your father.
Only live your life as it is,
Not bound to anything.”

–Buddha Shakyamuni

Blogs. Twitter. Facebook. Tumblr. What do they have in common? They’re all amazing tools for increasing communications and strengthening connections. Nothing more.

Sometimes communities get so distracted by the messenger that they forget the message. Yes even we purveyors of messaging in the PR and marketing trades are fallible to shiny things. Taking some queues from the Buddhist philosophy, let’s take a step back and make sure we are all on the same page.

As Brian Solis discusses in this post, PR 2.0 is the evolution of public relations. At its fundamental root, public relations and marketing in the new media era is about building relationships. The tools and technology come secondary.

According to my “Effective Public Relations” text book, “Public relations is the management function that establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organization and the publics on whoms its success or failure depends.”

Let’s compare that with Brian’s definition of PR 2.0:

PR 2.0 is the understanding and practice that communications is a two-way process and incorporates the tools, principles, strategies, and philosophies for reaching, engaging, guiding, influencing, and helping people directly in addition to the traditional cycle of PR influence.

Public relations has always been about building relationships. At one point, the press release was an effective way to reach target audiences. Then it moved to broadcast and print, both one-sided forms of communication. Now, the public has the tools to write the news and create the content.

The once silent masses now have a voice, and that voice is found on social networks, blogs, and forums. That voice is in the form of audio, video and text. That voice has the potential to spread ideas rapidly and more effectively than ever before. Instead of talking at an audience, public relations and marketing now have to engage and build a relationship with that voice and all its praise or critcism.

PR 2.0 is about listening, knowing your audience, what they talk about, how they communicate and meeting them on their court. It’s not about using Twitter cause company XYZ is, it’s about finding the best way to interact with and engage your audience and those talking about your brand. It’s about figuring out the best way to ignite those communities into rapid discussion about your brand. That’s the philosophy; the tools come secondary.

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[The above photo, “Thailand – Ayuthaya 5 – Buddha head” by mckaysavage on flickr, is used under Creative Commons]

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2 Comments

Filed under Best Practices, Community Relations, Future of Media, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media

2 responses to ““Killing the Buddha: PR 2.0 and Social Media Marketing Nirvana”

  1. Once again, I agree. Not much more to say, really, other than – “Effective Public Relations” is a great book! I have it in my desk drawer at the office.

  2. It amazes me how–for a text book–“Effective Public Relations” is pretty spot on, IMHO.

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