Building a New Model for Advertising and Public Relations Agencies to Collaborate on Social Media

In yesterday’s post, I shared the results of my recent study of how PR and Advertising agencies are – or are not – leveraging the Social Media opportunity. The findings indicated that advertisers think PR is out front at the moment.

The question is, why? After all, many of the best known social campaigns from Old Spice to Axe to the Swagger Wagon started with advertising-driven creative ideas. I think Public Relations has a few (probably temporary) advantages:

  • PR starts with ongoing “brand builder” mindset vs. finite project “promoter:” As my good buddy Matt Kucharski observes, some might argue that PR folks are more inclined to think in terms of sustained brand campaigns, not projects with short fuses.
  • PR more used to “heavy time, low cost” activities: PR still makes money going through a list of 200 reporters, then calling every single one on behalf of clients. That kind of investment is unlikely in the advertising industry.
  • PR jumped on idea of becoming influencers themselves: When you look at the list of top digital “influencers,” many of them come from a PR background. Few come from an advertising background. Like it or not, digital PR folks were quicker to take advantage of the personal brand building potential of networks like Twitter.
  • PR likes words – and words are free & fast: While no one doubts the power of YouTube these days, much of our social media interaction relies on good old fashioned words to communicate. That’s PR’s sweet spot and it costs nothing to create.
  • Advertising is grappling with (sometimes) small social budgets: Social Media may be on everyone’s lips, but it’s not necessarily a big part of their marketing budgets. Advertising is used to much bigger ticket projects and is wary about the step down.
  • Advertising still refining perspective on digital, as well as social: Advertisers are chasing digital, and it’s a big world out there. Today, it’s a discussion about an app, tomorrow it’s how to maximize Loqly and the next day it’s the measurement tangle. Advertising – and of course, digital PR – have their eyes on much more than one ball.

But as I stressed in my speech to TAAN, I think there’s a huge opportunity for Advertising and PR agencies to stop fighting aboutsocial and start collaborating. There’s plenty of budget and work to go around. Here’s how I would initially divvy up the work:

What do you think? Are the tasks in the right “buckets?” Perhaps more importantly, do you think we can “all just get along?”

If you want to hear more from me on this subject, click here to see my speech slides or here to see me presenting.

To reach Elizabeth:

Phone: 212.840.0017
Twitter: @elizabethsosnow
LinkedIn: Elizabeth Sosnow