World's Worst PR Predictions for 2015

1.  You’ll hate social media more than ever

There’s an ubergalactic thumb-wrestling match going on right now to see who disdains social media more.

Is it the increasingly isolated user … whose news feed is morphing into a steady diet of promoted posts, kitten photos, first-world-problem bragplaining, and powder cuckolding?

Or is it the producer … who like the ever-hopeful freelance writers before them, have volunteered to hitch their careers on daily milk runs to the great cow of creativity.  But to add a new wrinkle, these new economy careerists have a new glass to fill every single day. (Did you hear chat rooms are back? ...Sorry about all that time you put into the Google Plus program; turns out the platform sucks and is going nowhere... Ramp up that Instagram posting frequency....  Should we be on Ello? ... Explain to me again why those other guys have a bigger Facebook audience?  ....You’re not answering your Snapchat account. ...My nephew just got retweeted by Vin Diesel. Why don't we do that?)

This Bud’s for you, community managers.  I feel your pain.


2. You’ll wish you invented something

Like triple-baked snowsealed work gloves. 

Or standup paddle anything. 

Or Chris Davenport.


3. You’ll start making plans for when Outdoor Retailer moves to Las Vegas

According to something I found on the internets, the Outdoor Retailer contract at the Salt Palace Convention Center runs through the end of 2016. 

Also found on the internet is the nearest available hotel room to the upcoming 2015 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market show … which is a short JetBlue connection away.

For the last few years, I found it pretty damn hard to believe that the show would leave Utah while Kenji was in charge. But, since Kenji has left the building, maybe that door has finally opened. Just sayin'.


4. You’ll be asked to produce a video
Good video costs good money.  And by “good money” I mean watch-yourself-while-you-kick-yourself-in-the-balls expensive. 

The concept, the scripting, the planning, the travel, the shoot, the lighting, the terrible first take, the make up to make you look like you’re not wearing make up, the editing … oh, God, the editing …. And then finally a finished product that looks pleasantly effortless like you just whipped out your iPhone and caught a perfect moment in digital amber. That shit is hard.  And those who understand what it takes, understand what it takes.

While there are a handful of brands that are already six exits down the video highway, many of the rest are quietly shuffling their feet, hoping that brand imagery that can be sent by fax will continue to be OK for their needs. Those folks are certainly not ready to spend $100k on a video program. Or $50k. And probably not $20k either.

“Visual storytelling” isn’t marketing bullshit. It’s essential. And since many of the excellent video producers have long since bailed on the outdoor world because of the lack of budget, guess who’s gonna be on the list for that that $2000 video RFP that goes out next month?


5.  You’ll stick your head through the drywall in your office

Actually, I don’t have health insurance and I’m not planning on getting any anytime soon. I’m a healthy guy and I’ve been pretty lucky in the past.”

 -- Comment made by a media guest on day two of a backcountry fam trip, immediately after telling the group about the numerous crazy adventure-based media fam trips he’d been on in the last 12 months.


6. You’ll walk out on a keynote speaker

It’s a red wine and salt kind of reaction for an outdoor local to be lectured on anything by a non-outdoor person.  Seriously, that Cabernet literally leaps out of the damn shag carpet.

Part of that reaction is outdoor DNA, a historic reluctance to take any advice (even good advice) from 90-day wonders. But part of it is also the industry’s legitimate pride as custodians of truly special and increasingly rare experiences. This group sees itself as exceptional  ... and truly distinct from other industries in its ongoing appreciation of natural beauty and non-competitive athleticism. And until the double-digit growth slows down, it's gonna be tough to tell them otherwise.

Data crunch all you want in your pretty keynote,” says the voice in our head, “But I’ll bet you a billion dollars that if it snows three feet on Friday your entire argument is toast.”

And that voice will be right.


7. You’ll like a post on Facebook which openly shames “bad” PR people

It’ll happen. Probably as soon as this post goes live.

8.  You’ll start blogging again

When blogging first hit the scene, it was mind-blowing cool. Man, writing that sentence sure makes me feel old.

But it was. It was long-format bantering on big meaty topics. It was one-upmanship. It was wordplay. People got excited. People got mad. People lawyered up.  It was like the rap-off scene in Eminem's “8 Mile” … if it had been done by mildly overweight insomniac startup marketing consultants with tons of time on their hands because the dot-com bubble had just burst.

Alas, blogging was hard, too. It was a long distance race rather than a sprint. You had to feed the beast with regular content. With graphic elements. With photos and colors and illustrations and links and …  

And then we found Facebook. 

Believe it or not, Facebook was truly cutting edge once upon a time. Especially for bloggers with writing block. It was slick. It was turnkey. It was unexpected.  Seriously … don’t laugh.   

The worm, however, has turned. Facebook wants your money, and is going to get it one way or another. And huddled masses of “alternative” SM channels keep on growing, faster than neglected cilantro after a spring rainstorm. 

So, people are dusting off their blogs. As the anchor for all social media content.  As a driving force for inbound traffic.  As a cool thing to do that builds value for a brand, not for an IPO-hopeful Twitter knockoff.

9. You’ll get a product request from a part-time SLC barista

At the twice-annual Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, there is understandably much fanfare about the “working media list” which is available to exhibitors and their representatives.

The list for the upcoming 2015 winter show – or at least the most recent one we’ve received – has an impressive 520 bodies on it, representing 271 media outlets. 

Out of that 271, a sizable 108 are classified as Internet-only outlets … and 71 are attending the show from the greater Salt Lake area.

The only thing harder than publishing is freelance writing. So when that barista calls, give 'em a break.

10. You’ll get stuck with a bar tab

And hopefully, my steak frites and double Crown & ginger will be on it too.