Last week I had the pleasure of attending an event featuring Gary Vaynerchuck – a smart businessman who is changing the wine industry and leveraging social media to do so. He has daily videos where he tastes and evaluates wine, and regularly interacts with fans through every social media medium available…check out his daily videos here.
He has built a strong following – with people coming to see him from around New England. He managed to pack a room with 200 people and keep us entertained for 90 minutes (and it could have gone longer).
Out of the entire discussion last week, there are three thoughts that I wanted to share with everyone. Specifically, a few of his comments can be applied to public relations and the PRSA in general. I do not think Gary will mind to much, since I am taking the seeds he planted in my mind and growing them into full blown thoughts for you all to taste and evaluate…
1) The only way to improve your wine palate is to taste wine – You can read the magazines, watch the movies, read books, and visit vineyards; but in the end, what gives you a true appreciation for wine is by actually tasting it. The same applies to PR, social media and PRSA. Theory is essential. You need to have a grounding in the fundamentals…but in the end you need to execute. You need to practice what you preach. If you aren’t engaged – why not? The same goes for the PRSA…you should try out all the different offerings this organization has. Local programs are great, but have you explored the industry groups? District conference? Tried the teleseminars? The only way you can see all that PRSA has to offer is to sample it and find what you like and what you dislike.
2) The only way to appreciate wine is to stay out of a rut – try new things. Most people find a few wines and stick to them. They have wine racks full of Yellowtail, Conundrum, Cakebread Chardonnay and Parallel 44. (This gives you an inkling of my tastes). That’s great, but it is limiting. Try a new wine frequently. The same applies to PR. It’s why a good PR pros are constantly looking for the next new channel, a new approach to doing things. The PRSA leaders (Chapter and national) reading this should take this to heart. Jeff’s response to CBS was outstanding and a new approach. What other new tools and technologies can we use to communicate with our members?
3) Wine is a living thing – unlike my beloved single malt scotch, wine changes from year to year. A wine that was great one year may be horrible (or as Gary says ‘utter crap’) the next year. This holds true for even the best, most proven and time tested wines. Ask any wine connoisseur about 2007 Bordeaux. Too often companies and PR people fall into that trap. It worked last time, we should do it again. As we all know from the financial services commercials – past performance is not an indicator of future results. Always re-evaluate…is this likely to work this time? Is there something better I should try? I know my teams ask me that constantly and as PRSA members we need to challenge ourselves. DoI really just want to go to two meetings a year? Should we put on our 5th program on social media in a row, or is there a unmet need we are overlooking?