Earlier this summer, Richard Edelman, who runs the world’s largest public relations firm Edelman, let his audience in on a little secret: traditional marketing is broken. His audience included academics and brand marketing executives at DePaul University in Chicago, and some were surprised by the news, others not so much. What do you think?

Communications Marketing: Is This the Wave of the Future?

It’s no secret that social media has dramatically changed the landscape for today’s businesses. Edelman shared that it has always been marketing first and communications second, but now he is looking at a new paradigm, one that embraces communications marketing instead of marketing communications. Why might this be happening?

The difference today is that customers are found online, and they have control as to what content they want to read. So, it’s not really advertisers who handpick their audience but readers who handpick their content. This means that brands must find a way to communicate with their audience before selling them a product.

By sharing valuable, meaningful and entertaining information, the initial interest can be attracted, and the brand can then work on building a relationship and boosting sales. There are some brands that are already on to this concept of thinking, and that’s why you’ll see advertisements that are somewhat unrelated to an actual product or service, but the advertising works by demanding attention.

Increasing Communication through Storytelling

If communications marketing is going to be as big as Edelman predicts (and as the President and CEO of Edelman, we can assume he is correct), then how can you ensure your brand is working to this advantage? The best approach: tell a story.

Publish content that evokes emotion and has a shareability factor. Provide information that is relevant and valuable to readers. If a certain topic has been done repeatedly, for instance, either move on or determine how you will make this piece different. The world doesn’t need a million copies on how to water plants. Stand out. Be different.

Also, don’t forget to support facts with the appropriate data. Readers are quick to point out inconsistencies, and you don’t want to lose your credibility, which would in turn hurt relationships with customers.

Communication first. Storytelling. Relationship building. Is this the new marketing?