Joe Kennedy and Technorati Know Where it's At
For the past few months, I've been reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's book The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys - sad, but I work and have two toddlers, so getting through a lengthy book can take years!
Joe P. Kennedy, Sr. was a fascinating and truly brilliant businessman. He no doubt laid the foundation for his famous offspring. Joe Kennedy had incredible instinct and foresight and always placed himself in the right industry at the right time. During World War II, he ran a steel business that supplied ship-building efforts; in the roaring twenties, he landed several prominent positions in Wall Street investment firms; and as the Hollywood motion picture industry started exploding and experimenting with voice - he placed himself squarely in the middle of M&A deals with movie studios that are still around today. And let's not forget his boot-legging efforts throughout prohibition and beyond, when liquor sales skyrocketed.
So it should come as no surprise that he instinctively knew the power of public relations. In the 1930s, after his stint as the chairman of the SEC (he was the first one, by the way), he spent a considerable amount of time building relationships with reporters on his own - reaching out to them about stories they were going to write, sending thank you letters, developing story ideas, meeting them in person, etc. He understood their power and influence, and it was this work that helped shape his impressive reputation in both business and Washington circles, including a notorious article in Fortune that set-up his fame and reputation for years to come.
What does this have to do with today? Well, it's a good reminder that although it's been 80 years since Joe Kennedy became a media darling (he did have several media fiascos, which I won't go into here), things are still somewhat the same in the world of public relations.
Sure, there are more mediums to communicate, but influencers are still where it's at. Recently, Technorati's Digital Influence 2013 report came out and guess what one of the conclusions was? Marketers are measuring the wrong stats in terms of measuring campaigns' success, such as Tweets, Likes, Re-Tweets, Web traffic, etc. Apparently, what influences a prospect more than anything is when an industry influencer - someone they trust - recommends or touts a product or company. It's still that simple at the end of the day. Ten thousand Tweets on a particular topic is going to get you to check something out, but it's human nature to find someone you trust before you trust something yourself.
Now what is more complex today is reaching the influencer and figuring out how and where they like to get content. According to the report, the influencers get most of their information via other blogs, which is a good reason for all of us to continue developing blog content around our passions, products and/or companies. If Joe Kennedy Sr. was here today, I have no doubt he would have developed his own blog about 18 years ago, way ahead of the Web 2.0 explosion. Some people just have a knack for getting into bubbles and getting out before everyone else - he was one of them.