Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Paradise by the Dashboard Light?

So, I just saw Monty Python's Spamalot on Broadway - a must see. And this morning for some reason I keep hearing Meatloaf's Paradise by the Dashboard Light in my head. Ed Bernays' uncle would insist the two events are connected somehow, so being a big fan of Bernays and Uncle Sigmund I pondered what the connection might be. And then it hit me: the search for the holy grail or in PR parlance, measurement. I must have met with a dozen firms in the last year or so - all offering various public relations measurement "dashboards." Like some high tech tool in the PR man's batcave, the so-called dashboards are supposed to give me a real-time look at where my firm or client stands in the world. But whose world? Most dashboards I've seen only look at media coverage. These days that's nowhere near the full picture. The media landscape has changed. It's the age of MEdia (or what I'd call the day of me), as I think my friend Richard Edelman recently called it in a white paper. We are all media. You, me, my mom, your neighbor. You don't need to be a blogger to voice an opinion and you certainly don't need to own a newspaper to be an influencer. Where's the dashboard for that? As PR professionals we must constantly be in tune with all of our stakeholders with open communications channels established to reach them all effectively - and that means inside our own organizations as well. It's a two-way information superhighway out there and if you're spending too much time looking at your dashboard, well, you're probably going to end up like road kill. Buckle up people - the game has changed and it's time to keep your eyes on the two-way communications traffic that waits on the road ahead.