My interview with the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

The following interview published at the AEJMC PR Facebook Page today…

What’s a significant trend, looking ahead, that you feel PR professors need to stay on top of?
We’re entering an era of post-social media, where brands have established online communities, burgeoning content strategy and a CRM process. Students will need to continue to focus on foundational communication strategies and ROI processes that can be applied to new technologies and trends. Helping organizations be ready for the next big thing is just as important as having a firm handle on the trends of today.

What are the biggest strengths and (more importantly) weaknesses you see in today’s young PR professionals?
For years we’ve been talking about the digital and mobile-first natives coming into the workplace and being the Yin to the tenured strategic communicators’ Yang when it comes to building an integrated marketing strategy across traditional/social/mobile. But I’m seeing that today’s young PR professionals maybe be masters of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, yet are just as resistant to new technologies and changing marketing approaches as their senior colleagues. Whether growing in an established career or just starting out at that first job, today’s PR professional should readily accept, encourage and leverage change.

If you were teaching PR students today, what kind of lesson or assignment do you feel would have the most meaningful impact?
I have idea called “The Anti-Laziness Project” that involves helping a big brand launch a new product. Students must brainstorm and plan ways to reach and engage the target audience by using NONE of the traditional go-to marketing strategies in the marketers’ toolbox. This includes advertising, earned media, social media, micro sites, apps, surveys, user-generated content, stunts, world’s largests, flash mobs, etc. The market is crowded with branded and consumer content, and consumers are increasingly desensitized to the 3,000+ marketing messages and hundreds of social updates they consume each day. As an exercise, how do you engage a consumer in an entirely new way that captures their attention, communicates a message and adds value to their life? That’s what marketing should be all about. #deathtolazy

–Greg Swan, SVP, Brand Innovation and Digital Strategy, Weber Shandwick