Damn the torpedoes… and bring on the Fuzzy!

posted by Brendan Hodgson

I think David has it right… so I’m stealing shamelessly. The future of marketing and PR is about getting “Fuzzy“.

Granted, I’m tending to look at this more from a PR perspective than from his ’digital experience’ POV (though I know he could easily and eloquently expand beyond the confines of what he presented to his colleagues). That fact remains: the business of PR (and marketing overall) has a lot of unlearning to do. But it’s not simply a challenge for PR. It impacts our clients and their partners too.

What’s “Fuzzy”? Like David says, “Being fuzzy … is about unlearning everything we think we know—so we can actually learn and adapt.  It’s about less focus on rigid tasks and job descriptions and more focus on bringing our efforts together in the overlaps—where our skills compliment each other.  It’s about being more nimble and adopting “fuzzy” processes to compliment our tried and true methods that have served us well in the pastIt’s about putting aside egos, getting out of silos and mixing it up with each other—I mean really mixing it up.  Planners who think like designers—designers who obsess about business—information architects who write—writers who act like strategists—project managers who can direct creative and creative directors who are willing to let them.  People who are willing to let others play in their sandbox. ”

In a recent client meeting, it became abundantly clear that the ‘real’ value of PR is achievable only in an environment where “Fuzzy” rules: where advertising, digital, PR and direct not only co-exist in the proverbial “sandbox”, but feed off each other, sharing ideas (that spur new ideas) and “mixing it up” in ways that deliver campaigns and programs greater than the sum of the individual parts.

Because when we mix it up, we find ways to make campaigns – regardless of where the idea is born and nurtured, be it advertising, PR or digital - not only more holistic, compelling, memorable and engaging for the audience, but also more attractive for mainstream media consumption, more participatory and interactive, more viral… and ultimately more valuable from a business context.  

And while the new PR (and the new marketing) is very much about being “Fuzzy”, it’s also about figuring out how to make “Fuzzy” work. Would it be chaotic, rambunctious, argumentative, painful? Absolutely. Drop the gloves and have at. Vendors will still fight to the proverbial death for their share of the pie and for the right to claim the idea as their own, fuzzy or no. In the words of Che Guevara: Silence is argument carried out by other means. That fight is already happening and, from the perspective of the client, the opportunity is being lost before it’s even identified.

Managing Fuzzy will undoubtedly require a tight rein - and that’ll be, in large part, the job of the client. At the same time, it is the client who most needs to understand the value of “Fuzzy”, in order to benefit from it. And that’s our job, to blur the lines even more.

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