Social objects work for Marcomms, but what about Corp Comms?

I’m mightily envious of Hugh Macleod trekking off in his rural retreat. But at least he’s still churning out quality posts like this one about social objects and marketing.

I was lucky enough to see Jaiku’s Jyri Engestom deliver his original presentation on object-centered sociality – a concept Hugh now elegantly applies to marketing and PR.

In a nutshell (and I love this) Hugh tells us that the best kind of marketing (and PR) is done socially via word-of-mouth – from one real person to another. But this is a problem is you’re a PR or marketing “professional” as you have no real control on the outcome of this kind of marketing. As Hugh puts it:

“a lot of socializing is random. Ergo, yes, a lot of marketing is also random.”

It’s so true and obvious if you think about it, but try telling that to the client or your manager.

In fact Hugh makes a philosophically significant point about the that fact to hide this fact, the marketing and PR industry has constructed ‘mythologies’ that are used to create accepted conditions – or ‘realities’ if you want to be contentious – that marketing and PR works within.

But enough of that… Hugh’s overview of marketing and social objects is great, but I’d argue that if we apply his thinking to PR (and we have) then we are talking quite specifically about Marketing Communications – Marcomms.

Where does the object-centred sociality fit within the world of corporate communications PR? What can become the social object is the firm is tasked with shaping corporate reputation – a concept that doesn’t necessarily deal in tangible assets?

I don’t have the answer but would love to hear what others think? I suppose we could try to create and build corporate communications around a tangible social object – but what if the social object was an idea or concept associated with the organization – the raw material that goes into shaping ‘key messages’?
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We’d have a random – ie. socially constructed – concept of the organization generated through conversations. It might not necessarily fit the desireed (ie. top down) Brand Image but it would be undeniably real and match public expectations. Just some thoughts…. Happy to hear others.