Why do we need…?


This is part love letter to public relations and part love letter to my wife.

That should earn me some bonus points.

“Why do we need…?”

These same four words have begun countless questions throughout my life, from the first visit down the candy aisle with my mother to the latest visit down the candy aisle with my wife.

“Why do we need social media?”

Now that is a question that does not get answered with a “Because I haven’t had the dark chocolate variety” response.I am not an ancient communicator, and I don’t remember what pitching looked like through Morse code, but I can tell you there was a time early in my career when I was asked this question. The response then probably sounded a lot like “We can create a contemporary brand.”

This rationale in 2012 would result in a Facebook page that looks a lot like a marketing billboard. Much like “Why do we need to buy a gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream?” this also results in a one-way conversation that produces something more predictable than engaging.

“Why do we need a launch plan?”

I have heard this question asked both internally and with clients. The answer sits somewhere between a road map and a treasure hunt. Creating a set plan to lead a client down a path to success when launching a product is like booking a flight for vacation – you know that the trip (product launch) is set in stone, but the events between now and then (media coverage and initial events) can determine whether that vacation will be a success. Much like a vacation, when it ends it does not mean that the world stops. It is often what happens after the vacation/launch that will make the biggest impact with your clients.

“Why do we need (fill in the blank) technology?”

I have gone through countless software and hardware upgrades during my professional career, and each one has resulted in that “What have I done?” feeling. I’ve gone through a number of the IEs, various Windows versions and seen Bacon’s turn into Cision. Each time I go through the complete horror cycle, it concludes with wonderment about what life was like without this latest version of Word.

Much like that time you thought OMC’s “How Bizarre” was cool (you know you did), you could not imagine what lasting impact it would have. The next time somebody asks a question with “Why do we need…” take note. The questions – and answers – will continue to evolve.