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The Advertisng, PR and Marketing Services sector faces a number of challenges in evolving from its current role of agent to facilitator. In the push driven world of the 20th century players within the sector mastered the mass media tools of print, radio and TV. Their strategies and structures were configured around it. It was the age of the 30 second slot aka ‘the monologue’, ‘one way communication’, ‘talking to or at the consumer’. The role of the agent was to ‘manage the medium’ and ‘control the message’. Mass communications were ‘delivered’ to the public.

With the arrival of the internet we have begun our journey into a more pull driven world. The ‘voiceless and powerless consumer’ is becoming a thing of the past. With the advent of new tools people are rediscovering their voice. With that voice people are communicating and connecting with other like minded people all over the world. The sector needs to evolve and adapt to this new world by learning to talk ‘with’ and not ‘to or at’ people. This will require evolving from playing the role of an agent to a facilitator. The sector can no longer continue to look and treat people as ‘passive consumers’. The ’empowered customer’ has arrived.

A friend and fellow facilitator Johnnie Moore and I have talked on and off over the last year about the fact that the skillsets to do so are not currently in place throughout much of the sector. Those who are proactive within the sector will acquire those skillsets whereas those who are reactive will continue to live off past glories of yesteryear and are well on their way to becoming irrelevant.

As has happened at key moments throughout history a generation (who have grown up with the internet) is using the tools at their disposal to challenge the conventional wisdom which has shaped much of our world as we know it today. Which is what happens every couple of generations and which is why we continue to evolve as a species. And that is very much to be nutured and encouraged.

Well thats all for now. We have been instructed to put up our tray tables, return clothing to the person next to us and get ready for landing. Now where did I park the car … was it zone B or P …


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