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July 13, 2008


Nate Pagel

John, responding to your tweet. There are the notions in your post but I'm going to call them out because, to me, they do not have enough attention above.

1) Low level: responding to WOM and Socnet 'comments' and moderating them.

2) High level: lather, rinse and repeat. We both know these things have a start and no real end. But we must define goals, pick a time to learn from current results, take a look back, and then refine and re-define strategy in a major way.

Lastly, under Skills - I would put Video. One has to know or be able to include (from a team or external resource) shooting, editing and posting in their skills set today.

Brian Giesen

Responding to your tweet from earlier today as well. I would also call out specifically:

1) customer relationship management
2) digital crisis communications
3) trendspotting

1) identify meaningful insights from social and mainstream media trends
2) develop and execute crisis response program (including knowing how/when to include video)

Insight Identification

Chris Brogan...

I might have added sociology to your knowledge section, because understanding group/tribe dynamics will most certainly be a continuing tool for the bucket.

Quite a thought-provoking piece, and I'm pleased to see the reconnecting of marketing and PR in your definitions. Wherever that schism originally formed, I'm more than happy to see it go away.

Chi-chi Ekweozor

Excellent post.

I would add:

12. Training customer-facing staff to blog or otherwise interact with online customers.

'Public Relations' now extends to every member of staff that interfaces with the public.

philmang | phil gillman

John -
I would say that these skills & knowledge pieces should be requirements of all communications & marketing teams whether "PR" or "Creative" or "Media". While they can be somewhat distributed across teams, those teams will need T-Shaped or Sun-Shaped people as their leads that can cover and lead across all of these areas.
The skill I would add: Imagine -- All successful communications leads need to be able to imagine and be open to the things others imagine. The future is bigger than anyone of us will see at any one time, but it is those that identify and nurture imaginative solutions that will guide the future.


Given the behaviour recently by the so-called a-listers we ought to add "self control" to the list. A lot of PR professionals have joined in the microfame game (that's getting obvious) and want their 15 seconds. Nothing wrong with that - celebrity is not a bad idea in our industry. But we want to make sure we're getting famous for saying insightful things - not acting like a jackass. I'm still not yet sold on Twitter and all that stuff because the more I read people's tweets the deeper some are digging their own grave - with remarks and behaviour that should stay offline. I'm not convinced that MOST people are using these tools very well. It's not a problem with the tool it's a problem with self control and intelligence. Not many people ahve either these days. As a Christian, and a family values kind of guy, I'd also like to see more self respect and respect for others. I have two teenaged daughters. I see what they're exposed to online and then I see my colleagues doing the same stuff. It's not the right message.


Steve has something interesting to say...

1) Customer Experience Officer
2) Digital Story Teller
3) Super Crunchers.

are three emerging roles....


Another skill?

Multi-media content development: be it text-based, video, audio or Flash-based. The PR practitioner of the future will also need to be adept at content creation as organizations become "broadcasters" in their own right.

Great post. Very thought-provoking.

John Bell

Nate, Brian, Chris, Chi-chi, John, Brendan and Harro - great suggestions all. This will cause me to revise the list and add your thoughts. I hope you are good with me credititng you all. Thanks.

Sean Williams

John -- an interesting list to be sure, and the additions make sense. I'd offer one additional skill -- Internal Communication. The best strategies in the best companies include internal comms in their integrated strategies, but too often the executional skill set focuses too much on external relations. Internally, understanding the audiences, objectives, messages and methods is critical to the success of any organization. This is surely no longer the province of tactics; the "boy or girl who does the newsletter" and runs babies and bowling scores is probably missing in action these days. Rather, thinking discretely about the employee base (instead of one-sizing them) and their objectives should lead to excellent managerial communication programming, and a bias to act as facilitator of internal discussion across internal audiences. Having a base of understanding about how and why people learn, how and why they communicate the way they do, and how and why to accentuate some messages over others is absolutely critical to the success of any PR/Comms pro.

Emily Rosen

wow!!! have I got a lot to learn!!!

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