More on the future of PR and influence networks


Ketchum PR, one of the top few public relations agencies in the world, has just posted on their company intranet an interview with me on major trends in PR. They’ve kindly allowed me also to post it here on my blog. The key themes they distilled from our original wide-ranging interview are on the role of knowledge-based relationships in PR, the importance of relationship leaders, the need for agencies to adjust to the rapidly changing media landscape, and why agencies should get their clients to participate in the marvellous world of blogging.

Ketchum PR is noteworthy on a number of fronts. I wrote about their client extranet initiatives in my second book Living Networks, and also referred to it in my Microsoft White Paper How to Lock-in Your Clients. As early as 2000 Ketchum was inviting clients to participate in project workspaces, giving them visibility of the work being done for them as it happened, and the ability provide their own input to the process. Paul McKeon, Ketchum’s CIO at the time, called it letting the client see how they “make sausage”, so they see the messy stuff that goes in along the way, not just the neatly packaged output. Ketchum has also recently released a very interesting service, Influencer Relationship Management (IRM), that identifies and targets key influencers in a particular market or key decision. This relates to some of the work I’m currently doing on applying social network analysis to the role of “influence networks” in decision-making. Decisions are primarily based on input from trusted individuals, so understanding the structure and functioning of these influence networks is critical both in making better decisions, and in effectively influencing decision-makers. More on this later!