As part of the Global PR Blog Week I have contributed an article entitled Pragmatic Public Relations which suggests that we, as a profession, need to take a long look at how we undertake PR programs today and how that might change over time based on our audience and the tools and channels that are becoming available.
As anyone who has read this blog in the past will know, I’m not shy coming up with advice But as part of the preparation for the article I started trying to see how I could map the intersection between all our existing tools and the newer developments.
I came up with the idea of using Gartner Group’s Hype Cycle. Gartner put this graph together to illustrate the maturity of any technology in a given market. I thought it might be a useful, if very subjective way of looking at the technologies PR practitioners will be using today and tomorrow. This of course is terribly non-scientific and very subjective….
I’m very interested in getting people’s thoughts on it. Is it a waste of time and space? Is it accurate or irrelevant?
Gartner Hype Cycle
Here’s the empty hype cycle
Click here for a larger image.
There’s a couple of things to note:
- New technologies start on the left hand side of the graph and typically travel from left to right.
- Following their introduction tools can be subject to unrealistic hype bringing them to the â€œPeak of Inflated Expectationsâ€. Once reality sets in these tools then fall into the â€œTrough of Disillusionmentâ€ before emerging at the right hand side where they finally begin to deliver some of the benefits that were originally promised
- Not everything travels the full cycle, some new technologies simply reach their peak and then disappear without trace
- Itâ€™s not sequential, some new technologies move along the cycle faster than others
- Finally some technologies will remain at a given level forever
The PR Hype Cycle
So based on that here is the PR Hype Cycle:
Click here for larger image.
The first thing to notice is that our traditional tools such as press conferences, press releases, telephones etc. are mostly collected on the right hand side of the diagram in the â€œPlateau of Productivityâ€ section. They all provide well understood features and returns and are unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
Some traditional elements such as message control or the fax machine are in all probability becoming less important for many practitioners however they do still exist and can be more important for some practitioners than others.
On the extreme left of the diagram youâ€™ll see a whole host of new tools that many believe will have a fundamental impact on Public Relations. These include â€œCitizen Journalismâ€ â€œRSSâ€, â€œPodcastsâ€ and â€œWikisâ€. As previously mentioned this is where youâ€™ll begin to see differences between industries, for example in technology PR blogs are probably further to the right.
It may surprise you that Iâ€™ve put well established tools such as e-mail and databases only emerging from the trough of disillusionment but I have my reasons – we still don’t use them effectively.
So does it make any sense? Is it of any value? There have been a couple of comments so far, I’d be interested to hear what you think.