You have no doubt heard of Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci and Alexander Graham Bell. Some of the greatest inventors and adaptors of all time.
But what about Eugene Polley, who gave a grateful world the wireless TV remote. Or better still Bernard Sadow, a man originally ridiculed for putting wheels onto luggage. Pure genius that has stood the test of time.
They saw a need and they responded. So too for the smart PR operator – necessity is the mother of invention. And opportunity is not just knocking at the moment. It’s tweeting, blogging and poking, and all too often out of control.
Look at just a few examples of what’s been happening out there:
Olympic swimmers are missing out on gold because they’re believing the hype generated on their Twitter and Facebook fan pages, and not hitting the pool fully prepared for the competitors in the other lanes. (This has prompted calls for social media blackouts during competition.)
Professional footballers are watching their team mates tweeting just before they run out for a big game. Hardly 100 per cent focused.
Mega-dollar sponsorships are crashing and burning, at seemingly regular intervals, as high-profile people blast out totally inappropriate comments.
It’s not just confined to sporting teams. For example, some workers have found their jobs at risk after tweeting about the great sleep they had in the back of the company vehicle … on the company’s time.
Three little words, social media policy, represent a seriously big and unanswered issue for many seriously big organisations – and an opportunity for savvy PR practitioners to latch onto with their media management skills.
In the modern era, dealing with perception is a reality that sports and corporations can no longer avoid. They live in fear of what might go wrong (next) with social media, and they need the right person to step in and deliver some ground rules and an integrated, workable game plan. A complete training and under-control package for team members, sponsors, supporters, shareholders, staff and so on.
Understand that this extends beyond head office too. For instance, if we are talking big-time sports, plenty of player managers are desperately keen to protect their Golden Goose from turning into a Tweet Turkey. Lucrative contracts can be lost in a click if their charger isn’t switched on to the potential backlash of virtual words.
There is plenty of money at stake, and most likely money to be made. So if this social media caper is something you reckon you’re particularly good at, there is a real demand for what you have to supply. Certainly worth investigating, and a possible career reinvention in the offing.
This advice is drawn from The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom www.prwisdom.info by Brian Johnson, an award-winning journalist and leading PR practitioner.