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Just got back from NYC. It was my first visit there in over a decade, which is far too long.

In all realms, Gotham has this tendency to defy conventional logic and, in doing so, redefine it.

Here’s an example I wanted to share:

I ate at Freeman’s Restaurant on the Lower East Side on Friday night. They do “new American” cuisine, which is all the rage these days. It is perfect food for the current zeitgeist – kinda feel good-ish cuisine with gourmet twists added.

Conventional logic holds that a restaurant be “findable.” That it be on a street with traffic and possess an actual address. Freeman’s has no address (as the above photo indicates). It is “down an alley.” This, though, is part of the cachet and is likely a part of many conversations about the restaurant.

Most restaurants like reservations. Freeman’s doesn’t take them. But, because the whole customer experience there (the food in particular) is SO next level, it doesn’t need to.

Freeman’s defies basic rules of the game successfully because it provides superior value.

“But we’re communicators not restauranteurs,” you say.

Indeed, but don’t some of the conventions and “en vogue” beliefs in PR seem a tad dubious?

Here are questions I’m asking:

  1. Is the press release ‘dead’ or just the way we used to use it most of the time?: How much coverage do you get from blasting that press release to many at once? Is any of it ever really good coverage? You know, stuff that gets YOU raises and/or noticed?
  2. Is social media REALLY the savior everyone says it is? Is it not – maybe – just another channel that cannot be used in isolation from others? Is social really that hard to understand or be “good” at? Should it actually be “housed” anywhere?
  3. Is everyone right about print dying? Might it not live on for both aesthetic and human preference reasons? Clearly Canada’s national newspaper – which last year saw an upswing in circulation – thinks otherwise.
  4. Why does the measurement of PR debate never end? Much is made of measurement these days. But is not the only important measure client/stakeholder happiness? Is the debate on measurement really accomplishing much or is it simply ‘inside baseball’? If it accomplishing anything why are the conclusions gaining so little traction?

What do you think about the current “norms” and accepted wisdom in the PR game?

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Krista says:

    Wow, you raised so many good points here, I needed some time to noodle on this! As the communications profession is evolving, we need to preserve institutional knowledge in order to improve upon our practices. True, the old tools/tactics like the press release and print are showing their cracks in this digital age. But as soon as you think those conventions are passé, they hang on and demonstrate their relevance (eg. the social media release, or print circulation growth despite the downturn).

    But is newer better? I would be interested to see how Freeman Alley’s marketing tactics work after the initial splash. Will it putter out when the next big thing opens? Same holds for social media– everyone seems to be waiting for the bubble to burst and for the next big wave to hit (but it hasn’t gone away yet). It’s good to bear in mind these discussions as PRs because it will help us evolve our practice and develop better strategies and tactics.

    (BTW thanks for the restaurant recommendation! Lower East Side is one my favorite haunts in NYC 🙂

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