From Liz Kaplow’s Laptop: Journalists Value Spokespeople With Authenticity

Kaplow held our first Algonquin 3.0 Editorial Board meeting of 2008 on Monday, February 4th. Why Algonquin 3.0? It’s worth a minute on the story. I was an English major in college. One of my classes was The Short Story and one of the writers with whom I was most dramatically taken with, was Dorothy Parker. She had all the accoutrements of a nutty, desperate, brilliant 1920s writer, but what was best about her was that she was not a recluse. She liked to talk to her writer- type friends. She liked to hear their stories and opinions on the ideas of the day and you can be sure she liked to give hers.

It happens that her famous roundtables—held from 1919 to 1929—took place at the Algonquin hotel on the very block where Kaplow is located. So, when we decided to hold the first of our series earlier this month, how appropriate that we could pay homage to Dorothy with a roundtable of our own. The topic? Fittingly, “Who makes the best story tellers for your brand?”
Story telling always has been (and continues to be) integral to public relations. We are constantly on the prowl to find out who makes the best storytellers for our clients’ brands. Is it the celebrity who always manages to create excitement, the expert, who has the credibility and know-how to actually speak with authority, or the new media stars coming through the pipeline with their stories living all over YouTube?

In a way, there was no consensus on the best method for story telling. The journalists all came to the conclusion that what they are looking for is authenticity. They want to talk to people that are interesting, make a story come alive, and when it comes to the brands they are representing, there must be a real connection. If it isn’t a natural fit, the result is disingenuous and hollow.

Talk of using spokespeople in viral videos once again brought the conversation to blogging, and one of the editors mentioned that she is “over blogs.” One member from Kaplow spoke about how we are tapping into blogs more than ever but that it is the new, influential bloggers that will be key to our conversation moving forward. Our office has been talking to bloggers every day, from the day they started. Some have dropped off, some have grown enormously in popularity. Our job as PR people is to continue to follow their story, continue to watch their audiences and to work with them in an open, transparent dialogue


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