Our CMO on Why the Future of PR Has Never Been Brighter

"I’m shocked by how many executives fundamentally don’t understand PR and the impact it can have on their businesses."

I had the honor of being interviewed by my old friend Jeremy Goldman for his FUTUREPROOF podcast on a topic that is naturally near and dear to my heart – the future of PR. You can check it out at the link above.

Jeremy is the founder of the Firebrand Group, a published author (twice), a sought-after speaker who’s been on stage at major events such as Web Summit, SXSW, and most recently a keynote at a marketing event in Estonia (Estonia??) He’s also a stand-up comedian who does regular stints at the world-famous Comic Strip on the Upper East Side of Manhattan (where we recorded the pod in their sound studio). Lastly and most importantly, he’s a mensch, and an all-around hell of a guy.

Jordan Cohen

Jeremy and I met seven some years ago when I was VP of Marketing at Movable Ink and was invited to speak on a debate-style panel that was positioned as a “Battle of the Marketing Channels.” I was on Team Email, and like everything I do in life, I was in it to win it. I went up against teams composed of some pretty fancy and more accomplished execs representing Social, TV, Print, maybe a few others, and needless to say, we whipped ‘em bad.  Jeremy was the emcee and the panel of judges unanimously voted for Team Email. I proudly walked back to the office through the streets of New York with a gold medal around my neck. (Yes, I was a kid then and am still a kid now). We’ve been friends ever since.

My team asked me to make the focus of this blog post about what didn’t make the cut in the 28-minute episode(Jeremy and I chatted for at least an hour and a half for the pod). Despite being a kid, I’m an older kid now and therefore have no recollection of what we said that didn’t make the cut (probably for the better). Some of what did make the cut, that you’ll hear me elaborate on in the pod:

  • Why Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook were the biggest PR losers of the year (whereas I was certain Adam Neuman and WeWork would have been).
  • How Donald Trump proved that PR is still the most effective component of every “marketing stack.” Whether you are running for office or trying to become a category leader, getting press (and lots of it) is paramount.
  • Why no CMO should ever ace out an entire marketing channel – whether it’s PR, Facebook ads, TV, or anything – due to previous failures. Rather than blame a channel, blame thyself! There are always lessons learned and you don’t want personal biases to cloud thinking in a manner that can interfere with future success.
  • The Future of PR (naturally). How it must evolve in order to stay relevant in today’s world, where the pressure on CMOs to demonstrate business impact has never been greater.

Either way, I hope you’ll listen to the pod, laugh, and learn. I’ve learned a lot in these first five months on the job as CMO of N6A. I told my other long-time friend and business partner Matt Rizzetta that he’s been living in a fishbowl as founder and CEO of N6A for the past 10 years, but I’ve been living in an even bigger fishbowl for the past 20 years in my role as a product-side marketing leader and CMO for half a dozen or so companies (mostly high growth start-ups).

Since joining the agency, I’ve already spoken to at least a few hundred CEOs and CMOs, and have frankly been shocked by how many executives fundamentally don’t understand PR and the impact it can have on their businesses. That said, I am fired up about the opportunity to turn that around, and to help them transition from old-school PR to new-school OR (Outcome Relations).  Jeremy asked me if the future of PR is in jeopardy. I know that its future has never been brighter.

Posted by Jordan Cohen