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PR Values: Remembering the Brave

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In our look at the Social Climate, it has become increasingly clear that unless the Mainstream Media can radically change the way it gathers, presents, and distributes its environmental news and socio-politically relevant information, that we might well need to increasingly turn to alternate (more independent) mediums and channels in order to form and share the kind of progressive Public perceptions and opinions that will be required to reshape our Consumer driven Society for the better…and possibly avoid looming political and environmental debacles as well. The Past certainly holds lessons for us all.

In our zeal to seek out new paradigms and standards for Communications however, we shouldn’t overlook the lessons to be learned from our forebearers. In this case, the enormous power and latent capacity held within the current Media regimes, as well as the immense strides being taken by the ‘old guard’ to advance into a new era of bi-lateral Public Relations with their respective Markets and Audiences. Before moving on to our alternate Channels, we need to take a closer look at those organizations and talented professionals who are not only adopting new Production and Communication methods, but who are also innovating their staid Broadcast-based Media methods to have a greater impact within the much touted realm of Social Media. Some of the methods that the Mainstream Media might yet effectively adapt and evolve into would include radical new approaches to Advertising philosophies, Corporate Sustainability (CSR) efforts, and various new approaches to the many outdated or misguided Public Relations (PR) methods and strategies that we now see encroaching the Social Media space…For better or worse.

On Remembrance Day, what better Corporate objective could there be than to apply new models of Communication in order to honour those who’ve fought and sacrificed for our hard won Freedoms and Liberty. Of course there are many Corporate interests that simply wish to be aligned with such noble ideals, without bringing anything of new value to the table, but we’ll let naturally selective market forces decide who should survive in this Public Relations arena, and simply focus on those who are clear champions of a just cause.

As such, let’s narrow focus on some select PR and CSR professionals who are leading the way towards progressive new modes of communication though, in hope of brighter and safer visions of the Future. Let’s start this series by taking a look at one of the pioneers of progressive PR and now Corporate Sustainability…

Proctor and Gamble

Like any upstanding Corporate Citizen, they honor the basics of good social standings by respecting our Privacy as Consumers and website visitors, and also engage in many forms of Corporate Philanthropy via a variety of Grants Programs, often as unsung anonymous heroes. They are also clearly demonstrating their Social Responsibility and good Corporate Governance through a wide range of activities,and organizationally stated guiding principal.

P&G also knows the value of excellent marketing and Public Relations (PR) as evidenced by their pioneering work in sponsoring the original daytime serial radio dramas, that came to be known as “Soap Operas” because of their prominent and embedded sponsor presence, and carefully targeted market demographics. Proctor and Gamble Productions (formed in 1933) spawned a lasting legacy of progressive marketing through electronic mass media, that effectively turned the Advertising Industry into the megalith that it’s become today. This heritage continues to be built upon, and is now being innovated through Direct Marketing and Community Relations programs, that are increasingly leveraging the growth in Social Networks.

Last March, P&G staged their hugely successful “Loads of Hope” Digital Night in support of their ongoing campaign to supply victims of disasters with the comfort and dignity of clean laundry and the relief provided by its mobile laundry facility that features the Tide brand. This bold new event was a clear and honest form of corporate outreach into online Communities where P&G’s marketing directors made themselves directly accessible to the Public while also becoming more comfortable with the power of social media and their digital brand building tools. This initial foray as opened up both internal and public channels of communication that P&G is now leveraging into even larger circles of influence, and broader social campaigns.

Driven by their shared interest in supporting our nation’s military personnel Lucas Watson, P&G’s head of global digital strategy, is leading a group of 20 other marketing gurus from several corporations— that are applying that same powerful communications format to help MyVetwork.net. Called DVD (“Digital Veterans Day”), this event launched on November 11 in support of this 501(c)(3) charity that is designed to help active duty and veteran service members and their families with a wide variety of socially enabled services and resources.

In it’s backing role, the P&G led group is utilizing its collective expertise in Social Media and Marketing to raise nationwide awareness for MyVetwork’s innovative ability to help military families collectively navigate the daunting complexities they all face when searching for the resources, connections and benefits available to them from thousands of supporting organizations.

Some key services that MyVetwork provides:

  1. Matching people with common experiences (ie help me find another mom whose son was injured in Iraq; help me find a mentor)
  2. Matching military members to private sector leaders to help them find jobs after serving in the military
  3. Helping people navigate the government bureaucracy to get their benefits, and to find organizations that will be most useful to them.

MyVetWork.com also offers professional opportunity to participants who are interested in the social media space and wish to get first hand insider experience of how the Pros stage a nation-wide viral blitz via the Digital Veteran’s Day (DVD) campaign. For those who are already pros, “DVD” allows them to rub elbows with other hotshots and major corporate types in the space, as well as bring their tools/platforms and expertise to bear for maximize impact on behalf of this truly unique online community.

In terms of the bigger picture, the “DVD” launch of MyVetWork.net is a perfect example of how Corporate interests can dove-tail perfectly with social needs, and create cross-pollinated growth experiences for a wide variety of people online that will spillover new experience, expertise, and positive effects into all sorts of other Social Media campaigns.

It bears mentioning that in truly philanthropic fashion, Proctor&Gamble has FULLy downplayed their supporting role in this campaign, and remains almost completely anonymous in this matter, save for mentions here, adn among a few other Blogs that have picked up coverage of this event.

I for one hope that the business world can indeed learn from this model for excellence, and use this type of Corporate Social Responsibility as a template for future campaigns and further incursions into the Social Media space. By driving change down the Corporate ladder system in this manner, perhaps there is hope for all sorts of other social issues to be addressed within the mainstream channels of Public Relations, Advertising, and other forms of Marketing. At which point the Mainstream Media would certainly fall into step with more progressive and proactive attempts to communicate the fundamental changes that our Society now requires to survive…

…One can hope

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