The NY Times recently wrote a profile of the current state of PR in Silicon Valley with a focus on Brooke Hammerling and her firm, BrewPR. The profile highlighted the need to look at individuals as sharers of information that are at the least on the same playing field with mainstream media (and for the purposes of this discussion major blogs like TechCrunch with many writers and editors are considered mainstream media).
As there always is when PR is written about in a mjor publication there has been quite a bit of blowback from various pundits and people about how it shows that PR hasn’t changed, and in the words of Michael Arrington is a world of “Smile, Dial, Namedrop, Pray.” This is meant to disparage, but in reality it’s not too far from the truth. I often tell clients if you want to be absolutely sure of what you are going to see buy an ad. That doesn’t mean you won’t see other things written about you, and if you don’t you’re in trouble. I do take issue with one of Arrington’s other comments, “when a CEO is wondering what she should do next to drive her business forward, she generally doesn’t call her PR firm for advice. Or at least I hope she doesn’t.” Thanks Mike. Glad only lawyers can give business advice. That doesn’t work. You need the whole team available for input. That doesn’t mean that CEOs should include PR in every decision, but there’s quite a few where we can help out.
My take is the writer had an idea, or Brooke had an idea that she brought to the writer about the shift away from talking to a few huge publications and putting information in the hands of individuals. That’s the overall tone of the article. I’m guessing that’s not what the entire launch strategy was for the company included as part of the article, but it’s what fit.
This is one of those stories where everyone has an opinion, and here are links to several of them:
The first PR firm where I worked was the subject of a similar type of article in Fast Company in 1998. Based on that experience, no matter what the article said, Brew isn’t going to have to worry about new business for quite some time.