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Frank Gruber on Putting the Public Back in Public Relations


My good friend, Frank Gruber is one of the hardest working bloggers and new media professionals I know. By day, he’s a product strategist for AOL in the social networking group. His focus is on lifestreaming products, including AIM, Bebo and SocialThing. Frank Gruber is also a well known blogger focused on sharing his Web product expertise and analysis on Web 2.0, social media and emerging technologies in articles and videos online.

His works have been featured in TechCrunch, iMediaConnection, ReadWriteWeb Network and on his own blog SOMEWHAT FRANK. Frank has experience bootstrapping on a variety of startups including SplogReporter, TECH cocktail and Shiny Heart Ventures.

Frank wanted to share his thoughts after reading the new book with Deirdre Breakenridge, “Putting the Public Back in Public Relations.

“Marketing ‘at’ an audience just won’t fly in this new conversation-filled landscape where your community now helps to sculpt your messages and stories. Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge have teamed up on a new book that focuses on the importance of relationships when it comes to getting your message out in this new social economy, and it’s a must read for anyone in the industry.”

– Frank Gruber

Putting the Public Back in Public Relations is written for the those facing the new intersection of all that is rooted in Public Relations including PR, media and analyst relations, customer service, product development, social media, brand and community managers, executive management, HR, journalists, bloggers, marketing, advertising, students, teachers, content publishers, and everyone in between.

The book is now in stock at Amazon, the Amazon Kindle store, Barnes & Noble, Safari, and bookstores everywhere.

You can read more about the book here.

Thoughts from other leading voices:
“Putting the Public Back in Public Relations” is a passionate and persuasive case for rewriting the rules of public relations. Authors Solis and Breakenridge expertly combine third-party perspective with case studies and examples to paint a picture of a profession on the brink of reinvention.” — Paul Gillin

“Movers of the message, now hear this: the public on the other end of the transaction isn’t waiting around for you to reach it with your pitch. Let Brian Solis explain these things to you, and you will be far, far better off.” — Jay Rosen

Hugh MacLeod (@gapingvoid) also created an original and brilliantly poignant drawing to commemorate the book’s debut.

Kindle Edition

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5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Frank Gruber on Putting the Public Back in Public Relations”

  1. TravisV says:

    Brian- it was great to meet you at the Web 2.0 event. I enjoy your blog perspectives and have learned a lot here. Also plan to pick up the book @ Borders on Union Square.

    One thing that perplexes me about “social” (I have been very stubborn / slow to jump on board, to be honest) … is that in my particular industry (enterprise software), I don’t see a lot of actual BUYERS out there on social networks. I see a lot of marketing folks on Twitter, for example, posting tinyurls to whiteppaers and blogs, but (via Twitter search) I NEVER see actual enterprise IT buyers sharing perspectives.

    Conversely, it seems like there are tons of average Joe consumers on these networks, and they are ripe for the picking. If you are a b2c marketer, seems like there are vast social networking opportunities to exploit … but IMO, for b2b (especially high level enterprise technology sales), the buyer activity just isn’t there to exploit.

    Agree / disagree? Am I missing something? I’ve been monitoring Twitter and Facebook closely for a few years now and I’m just not seeing the same degree of relevance to enterprise IT marketing.

  2. Sam Mutimer says:

    Brian, can I hear a whoop whoop! I’m loving your posts matey! They are full of enthusiasm and substance – wohharr! Loved it so much that I even mentioned you in my last post! Have a squizz when you get a spare millisecond!
    High fives and keep pumping out the mind fizzing content! Sam Mutimer

  3. Heather Whaling says:


    I just finished Part 1 of your book this afternoon. I think it’s quickly becoming my favorite PR book! I love books like this — that make you think about things from a different perspective. Can’t wait to read the rest!

    Heather (@prtini)

  4. Brian Solis says:

    Hi Travis, indeed it’s rising as companies, whether b2c or b2b will adopt a direct 2 consumer strategy. It’s a bell curve. I have numbers and data that show the activity of IT professionals on the social web as they use crowdsourcing to make recommendations,decisions, and purchases. Plus, there’s the whole idea of Social CRM as it relates to b2b communities.

    Sam, thank you!

    Heather, wow. That means alot! Would love to hear your thoughts when you’re done.

  5. Juan Lulli says:

    More than a book, Putting the Public back in Public Relations feels more like a historical accounting – done in real time — of the past, present, and future of Public Relations. And where the future of Public Relations is already occurring now.

    I’m new to social media and web 2.0, so what I saw through the pages of this book was something enlightening. What authors Brian Solis ( and Deirdre Breakenridge ( explain, to my way of thinking as a Wharton MBA-trained marketer, is classic “disintermediation” of the market role once enjoyed, in a sort of monopolistic fashion, by the traditional PR agency model.

    Pre-web 2.0, PR performed the role of Brand Power Broker. It created, managed, distributed, and targeted the Brand conversation. It created the message of the brand. It distributed the message of brand. It chose the channels through which to distribute the brand message. It divined the profile of specific audiences against which to target those messages.

    “…the conversations that are already occurring…”

    But today, of course, Solis and Breakenridge explain that these brand conversations are already occurring without the enabling assistance of the PR agency model!

    With ease and the awesome efficiency of real-time sharing and distribution of information, consumers, producers, journalists, new influencers, and collaborators are having these conversations directly with each other and across the web in seemingly infinitely arrayed social communities Solis coined as the Conversation Prism.

    So instead of promotion that’s pre-packaged, static, and controlled, brand interactions and dialogue now occur naturally — initiated, created, and shared by the marketplace, for the marketplace – without the middleman, without the Power Broker.

    Less clear though, is how to encourage PR to discern, face, accept, and engage the new reality of socialized media – and how to re-invent itself and acquire for itself a value-added relevance.

    Just as an aside, where I’m beginning to think this can happen best is with the “next-gen” crop of PR professionals at the University-level education. With courseware that educates all future PR professionals on the 2.0 landscape, it’s quite likely that the PR agency model can re-seize for itself an essential role in PR 2.0 today and in the future. Breakenridge has some insight on the New Curriculum for PR on her website.

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