Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Practitioner's View

Sorry folks, I don't work in PR. So to answer a question I've been pondering I've turned to someone who does. Attila Schillinger is a founding partner of the Avantgarde Group, a communications consultancy based in Europe. He has previously been voted one of the Top 40 most influencial young international PR professionals by PR Week. Below is his answer to the question: "How has the Internet influenced your work in public relations?".

"The internet has had a profound influence on our work in PR. First, it has become a regular research tool. Secondly, it has eliminated borders when it comes to news. There is no such thing today as "local" news. Anything can become global within minutes depending on the significance of the information. Finally, it has been changing the name of the game completely with the appearance of Web 2.0 applications.

Today we strive to add digital elements to each and every PR campaign we are running. We began to use Flickr to upload real time event photos and make them available to editors. We use Youtube to create content and upload visuals. We use Facebook for creating profiles for our clients. We are on Twitter to bring attention to news items and events. One by one, we are integrating new social networking tools into our work.

At a company level, we made a conscious decision not to create a separate digital unit, but to integrate digital PR into the job requirement of all staff. We have included digital PR into staff evaluations and tie part of annual bonuses to this specific kind of performance. This has been driven by the belief that in 5-10 years, those who are left behind without digital skills will simply be out of the job market and likely out of our company! The timeframe may even be shorter, we don't yet know, but we remain alert, curious and hungry for knowledge as it develops."

Thank you, Attila.


  1. He still wears a tie, on his screen shot at least. And there is a boast about the ability of their 'news factory' - an odd concept for PR to boast about, surely? I couldn't access the case studies section, so I'll resist the urge to rush to judgement. His HR approach does not quite fit the 'new paradigm.'

  2. I thought the "Interview" was good.
    We have to embrace this new digital world to carry on. In my business (music) if I didn't...well, I shouldn't be trading!

  3. I partly agree with global villager. The pictures on our website are outdated. However, the news factory is the hottest item clients want and buy. It is about pitching stories to editors rather than carpet bombing media with useless press releases. But at the end of the day clients still want "ink, ink, ink". Talk to anyone in PR around the world and they will tell you the same. It is just the ratio of old and new media that may differ. To the comment about our HR approach, it is in the name: avantgarde. It describes the attitude of the type of people employ.