Perkett Public Relations: Living In the Digital Communications Trenches

perkett public relations

perkett prMany PR firms claim to be “innovators”, or at least “gurus” of the social media space, but few are actually engaged with any real confidence in what the social web can do for their business. We have reported an any number of top PR entities who “claim” to be engaged in the conversation on the Web, but beyond the few including Weber Shandwick and Horn Goup, “engagement” is really just lip service. Today I ran across another PR firm, PerkettPR, which not only engages, but has done so since the age of “the digital dinosaurs” so to speak – or 1998.

At first glance I thought Perkett was just “broadcasting” online PR in the same was as so many do. But, with a little surfing it became readily apparent that Perhett’s “bite” was about as profound as their “bark” with regard to their actual use of social media for business. Of course no PR firm is perfect, and some of Perkett’s past clients are not exactly “racehorses” of the Web 2.0 movement, but then any PR company has it dogs too. The site? Well, I will not get into that lengthy analysis right now, for it is not as important as their branding of the various social spheres is.

At the end of the day, just as it is in traditional PR, putting people on the sidewalk talking about clients and news is a huge part of public relations, and Perkett is endeavoring to raise the bar here. Let’s take a look at where this PR company has put its personel and resources in as far as taking advantage of digital communications.

The Blog

Perkett Public Relations

Not exaclty state of the art, but well organized and linked to pieces

As an integral part of Perkett’s operations, the blog does not appear to be at the top of their list of communicative devices. However, as for being informative, linked, integrated with other services, and chock full of decent content, it is one of the best we have seen among PR entities. In short, Perkett understands social networking and media, and communicates effectively via this invaluable tool.

PerkettPR Blog Stuff

  • Alexa traffic rank – 890,911 – Better than the host site, but effectively unseen.
  • Comments – Enabled but primarily Twitter ones. They are pretty sparse, but a lot more engaged that many other PR’s
  • Aesthetics – Ugly – What does that matter? Passers by are not engaged as well
  • Content – Very good and tied into subjects which are relevant and popular
  • Branding – Not excessive on self aggrandizement, and one of the best PR examples we have seen. Noteable components, ADAge Power 150 ranked #402 – They obviously know what is going on

The blog aspect is pretty dog gone nice for these folks. It is apparent to me that these folks know what they are doing, but may be a little short handed (boy do we know that feeling). Additional content targeted to not just Twitter, but main stream news would help a great deal. Of course fully engaging conversation is a time consuming and painstaking job. They will have to hire more people to get this done.

Talking and Seeing

As far as the online video arm of social, Perkett has made a more broad reaching and defined effort to engage people via video than any PR company we have seen. However, if quality of content video wise were the criteria, their efforts would be small potatoes compared with more refined and to be honest, expensive ones by other companies. Engaging via Vimeo, BlipTV, and of course a YouTube channel, Perkett is on the road to blanketing the video Web.

Perkett Public Relations firm

Jeff Pulver may be a genius but watching him may prompt Subuku

perkett PR ceoWell, though Perkett has raced passed so many top PR firms in this space as well, apparently they have not learned that everyone (every client or collaborator) is not suited for prime time video. I will not burden the reader with Pekett’s Blip aspect, because if anyone is forced to watch Jason Falls talk on TV, we may get sued. Seriously, Falls is an innovator and one of the leading experts on all things social Web, but in the segment where he was interviewed by Perkett, it is quite obvious he was not versed before hand. A sort of “no-no” with regard to presenting him with his best foot forward.

Of course, Perkett did not sign up for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards did they? Should they? Probably in at least some facsimile thereof, because some of their video segments suck wind – big time. Even the founder looks puzzled (left) in an interview on one of the networks (sorry gal, I could not resist).

Facebook-ed To Smithereens

This aspect too is covered to the hilt by the people at Perkett. I am not personally a fan of Facebook, never was (even when begged to write about them). However, like the other social platforms, Facebook has been more than adequately engaged with more than just a “cursory” plug at being social.

Good Lord Facebook is ugly. Well, Perkett is there for sure

Good Lord Facebook is ugly. Well, Perkett is there for sure

Watch The Birdie

Twitter (Good God) engagement for PerkettPR is substantial as well. Not being a fan of Twitter either, this aspect is difficult for me to quantify well. Those that swear by it (like my partner sometimes) do have some good points. Without going into a dissertation on why Twitter should die, suffice it to say Perkett appears to devote substantial time to this outlet. In their literature, and a Businessweek article,  it is suggested they use Twitter primarily as a media outreach and news tool however. Whatever their methods here, if covering all the bases counts toward a PR firm being digital, Perkett once again comes up aces. This is especially true given that they only have a hand full of employees.

perkett pr twitter

If Tweetie Bird could see this? Where is Sylvester?

Summing Up

Christine Perkett has built one of the most “wired” PR firms out there since 1998. In the end, this says a lot given how huge PR companies have “missed the boat” so far in using the Web the right way. This is not to say Perkett’s methods are all rocket science either, but they are a far cry from other inept efforts we have seen. I think the end of this story should say something about works in progress, and potential really. Though some of PerkettPR’s clients they use for testimony may have fallen by the wayside (like 8MinuteDating), and others are pretty much old school advertising interjections onto the Web, and etc., we cannot always pick and choose the very best brands to work for. Bragging about getting them mention by Katie Couric once they have dropped from favor may not be all for the best either, but who am I to say?

At best, this PR agency is trying, and making some headway for themselves and their clients. Social media and networking, and it PR extension, is not too different from any branding or visibility in any other sphere. If all we ever used were our best videos, our best case studies, and a range of other “contextual content”, many of us would not have anything to show anyone. The accumulation of excellent content and experience is what growing online media companies should worry about.

So, as a progressive online PR firm, Perkett is doing the job right for the most part. I would recommend them, unless of course a more in depth study reveals that their CEO is always as puzzled as she looks in that impromptu snippet I grabbed from a video of her. Just kidding, we gotta have fun doing this, lesson one.

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  1. Jason Falls says

    All fair. I appreciate the further perspective. Thanks for talking about it. The world of consumer generated media makes new rules, even for those who perhaps should be following old ones. But it’s a great discussion to have.

    • Phil Butler says

      Yes Jason, agree totally. We just want to help and to inform. Some really good people out there, and lots of good info. Delineating the authorities from the others makes sense to me, whatever the method. Thanks for understanding.


  2. Jason Falls says

    Thanks Mihaela. Your points are certainly valid for the stayed, in-the-box, slickly produced type interview styles the media defined for us over the last 40 years or so. For the consumer-generated content era, those points can be lost on the audience, though. The interview style is real. It shows people as they are … not has rehearsed corporate spokespeople. Those types of interviews reach consumers and show more credibility as a result.

    I’m a PR guy by trade, so I hear your points and don’t necessarily disagree, for the format and the learning purpose of these interviews and videos, I don’t think the criticism is as valid. Oprah they’re not. But real and credible they are. At least in consumer’s minds.

    • Mihaela Lica says

      I agree that the interviews need to be credible and to show real people, Jason – but don’t think that interviews where you give people two-three minutes to prepare are less real. I am not talking about an interview-styles here, I am talking about your credibility. As I said: you are an expert in your field. If I wouldn’t know you, judging from your performance in the interview my reaction would be “Who on Earth is Jason Falls?” if any. Most likely I would ignore the interview and move to something else.

  3. Jason Falls says

    Hey Phil. Nice write up. I’m hoping you can clarify something for me. You write in reference to me:

    “but in the segment where he was interviewed by Perkett, it is quite obvious he was not versed before hand. A sort of “no-no” with regard to presenting him with his best foot forward.”

    I’m just a bit confused as to what that infers. I re-watched the interview with me and am not certain where an indication of I was not well versed before hand comes in. And I don’t understand how the interview doesn’t present me with my best foot forward, either.

    I guess I just want to know why you seem to say the interview makes me look bad. I don’t see it but would love to know what you see there.


    • Mihaela Lica says

      Hi Jason, let me reply to this – I worked in public television for about five years. The video is not very bad for a spontaneous interview, I saw worse. The thing is that you are a real expert in your field, and this is not apparent in this particular interview. You make too many pauses in your monologue, your body language is a bit… not insecure, but inconsistent. It’s not your fault – the interviewer should have given you time to prepare. Phil was just trying to be helpful – you don’t want to appear in interviews that make you look like you got caught with your pants down ;). The reason it’s a “no-no” for a PR company is that when they interview people and they make them appear in a bad light, it takes away from their credibility as well. These people are not very versed in taking filmed interviewed, obviously, although they do have quite extensive profiles on YouTube and others.

    • Phil Butler says

      Hi Jason, Thanks for stopping by. I am so sorry that this aspect was misconstrued at all. Honestly I tend to be a little too critical (and sometimes throw in humor when it is not always appropriate). I was actually trying to be helpful more than anything else. Your expertise in all things social is well noted. I just wanted to “tweak” the way Perkett, other communicators, and even you to a degree present or are presented via video and other media. It seemed obvious to me that given some time to think about what you were going to be asked would have made for a more crisp and authoratative presentation in that video segment.

      There is no real fault in this so to speak, but room for constructive criticism. Perkett is doing a great job of engaging, but as we all know, refinement takes us to different levels as fast as quantity. If you had been able to think about these answers a little, the end result would have been somewhat more enjoyable from the viewers stanpoint, as well as professional on both ends of the camera. Of course no one can be versed for impromptu camera time. I expect this is what happened here. But, for the communicator doing the shooting it is always professional to look for a rather more perfect end result. Unless of course they are trying to catch someone off guard.

      I hope all that made sense, and I assure you that my video presence in such a situation would perhaps not be as good as yours. :) I just know the people I learned from would hit me over the head with something if I hummed and haaawed over an answer. No, ummms, and uhhhs etc. We have learned a lot about the social sphere from your investigations of it Jason. I hope this explanation helped in some way. I have the image in my head now of Werner Von Braun being caught in an improptu interview about rocket science, looking around for simple answers to aerospace questions. :) But then, NASA did have some good publicists back when.


  4. says

    Hi Phil,

    I am flattered that you took such an in depth look at PerkettPR’s social media efforts. I appreciate your insights and am grateful for the positive overview that we’re a creative, dynamic agency taking some risks and leading PR in the digital age. You hit the nail on the head when it comes to resources – we’re a small agency, you’re right, but we like to think we have a mighty bark.

    That being said, some of the videos you review – including the one with me as impromptu interviewer (looking “puzzled”) are our earlier attempts at creating more social content for our agency. The casual interviews at networking parties like TechCrunch were meant to be just that – casual yet interactive ways to demonstrate who we are, who we know, and what our corporate personality is.

    Thank you for also including some of the more corporate marketing videos, like Tomo Therapy’s, as well. We find ourselves doing more of these for clients who want interactive marketing content to share with customers and prospects.

    We’ll keep your design opinions in mind as we continue to develop and refine our social media efforts. (PS thanks for not including our website this time … to be honest, it’s 10 years old and we’re in the middle of redoing it!)

    Thanks again – and all my best to you.
    Christine Perkett
    President & Founder, PerkettPR Inc.

    • Phil Butler says

      Hi Christine, Not at all, you guys are doing the right things, better in so many ways than the industry leaders. I just had to poke a little fun at you in that one video, I did not even expect that screen to show up but when it did I said to myself; “This will either make her laugh or cringe.” Obviously it made you laugh, which as we both know is fundamental for all of us. As time goes by, I am sure all your efforts will get more and more refined. Believe me, we know about being short handed over here in Germany. I expected the site was older, and we have our own issues with the Corporate site too. Hard as any of us try, there are only so many ticks on the clock.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment Christine, and let us know if we can help in any way.


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