No one has got it 100% right.
And, no one will reach this almost mythical destination for a long while yet.
I think it’s pretty simple. No one (yet) is willing, and more importantly equipped, to be the hero and / or goat.
Take the emotion, pride and ambition out of the equation, just for a second. Can anyone really lay claim to being that knowledgeable and experienced?
It seems a lot of people want to own social media or be responsible for a slice of it (if it means more budget), but just as many people are scared to death of it (if it means a reputation disaster lands on their desk that they otherwise wouldn’t have had to deal with).
And, I’m not talking about the thousands of bloggers who tell us how it should be done everyday, but the senior people inside each organisation trying to make sense of what is unfolding in front of them…and meet the daily targets set for them.
Lets’ go through the diagram below and then break it down in more detail.
Wanted: The person who doesn’t exist…yet
The person I am referring to is that oddly shaped multi-arrow character in the middle.
How many people do you know that:
a) have experience in all these areas
b) have managed aggressive agencies
c) can pull people together internally whilst massaging considerable egos
d) have the technical appreciation for what is involved
e) can handle a crisis competently
f) can be forward thinking enough to sell creative concepts across the business
g) have the time management skills to pull this all together
This list could go on and on and on.
The problem is that major organisations, ones that are operating in competitive environments, need that person NOW.
Someone has to say the buck entirely stops with them (and enjoy the spoils too).
Usually, it is the CMO who has been ‘gifted’ this potentially poisoned chalice but can he / she really be expected to get under the skin of such a complex area?
The classic CMO might be rich in experience which is vital, but possibly not a connected to the new and emerging formats of communicating.
There is no point waxing lyrical on this subject any longer than I already have (just type ‘who owns social media’ into Google and you’ll find pages of opinions), but perhaps a more measured way of thinking toward this subject is required.
We really don’t know the honest answer yet…or perhaps we think we do, but we don’t yet have the physical solution.
We will, in time, develop structures and roles to manage this tricky but powerful element of the communications mix.
Until then, take lots of notes in meetings, keep your eyes peeled, keep your ears open and have a practical think about the type of person that might be suited to this job. And be kind to the people attempting to pull all of this together…they are still learning too.
It’s not just a PR person. It’s not just a digital person. And it’s not just a marketing person. It’s a hybrid of lots of things.
It is someone who doesn’t fully exist yet…but they will be INVALUABLE when they eventually show up.
We’re aiming to explore this topic with our community to dispel a few myths and enable a better working relationship between all disciplines.
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