Abe Smith: You are who you are, and who you become

It’s an existential exercise to consider where you came from and where you will go, and equally reflective to think about what defines the future.

A recent blog by global coach and thought leader Tim Sanders really hit the nail on the head regarding reinvention speaking to the fact that, while the core is always fundamental, it’s important to evolve.

Though Sanders spoke about this at a personal brand level, it struck me that this applies to corporate identity as well. It’s that balance between respecting legacy but equally embracing the present and what comes next.

Needless to say, that progression is firmly felt in the world of PR tech and the place in which the PR lives today. In fact, the pace of change is palpable and moving at a clip that not only keeps you on your toes but makes you try to figure out the reasoning sometimes in a Da Vinci Code kind of way.

Over the last year we’ve seen the motion – Marlin Partners acquiring Talkwalker, Adobe consuming Marketo for a whopping $4.75 billion and, recently, Brandwatch announcing the merger with Crimson Hexagon.

Suffice it to say, we’ve done our fair share too with 10 acquisitions since 2014 and six alone in the last two years. These consolidations and alignments suggest a growing shift in the theory behind providing the marketer a more complete offer that draws on the best-in-class components for the end user.

This change kicked off some 10 years ago when Adobe began their buying spree with Omniture making the proclamation that analytics were paramount and that the tools would be built around this thesis. And so it was, acquisition after acquisition launched the decade of the marketing clouds, with Salesforce quickly following suit and Oracle pacing not too far behind.

Which leads me to wax brand identity and strategy for Cision. It goes without saying, the needs of the PR leader are not standing still and the way that the profession plows ahead will forever be adapted based on the realities of media today. From fake news to the continued rise of video to the impact of social and beyond, we are forever changed as PRs.

When I reflect internally, I see a company that has focused on the fundamentals delivering best-in-class journalist database built on the promise of Gorkana, world class distribution fuelled by PR Newswire and excellence in monitoring and analytics, punctuated with our purchase of Prime Research exactly one year ago.

The foundation of this legacy are the pillars from which we build and represent core components of what is still meaningful today. And, yet, who we are at this moment in time still commands a consideration of what we will become, and, to that end, the clues are already visible.

There’s no disputing that pictures are the new words and visual tracking couldn’t be more pertinent with some three billion images posted each day to the web and 95 million daily photos tagged to Instagram alone. Enter ShareIQ, a company that became part of the Cision family only a handful of months ago and is already an integrated part of the Cision Communications Cloud.

But reinvention doesn’t stop there, with more than 1,000 companies finally declaring the ability to show real attribution linking articles to outcomes and tagging reads and ratings to reality. Think about that: a magazine piece read directly connecting to the shopping cart purchase made, or the image viewed leading to a request for more information form completed. Closing the loop is finally possible with the long awaited Cision Impact release redefining the industry, and ourselves, in 2018.

In the days of redefinition, the culmination of this renaissance couldn’t have been clearer in the celebration of communications witnessed at CommsCon. This festival of education, networking, learning and sharing suggested the dawn of a new breed of PRs hungry for, frankly, a platform.

Along the way, this year of metamorphosis saw other unexpected but appreciated badges applied to the company such as winning Social Day’s Social product of the year (against a herd of fine bedfellows), 5-star ratings for the Cision Communications Cloud and 12 AMEC Awards reminding us where we came from and why measurement continues to have meaning.

What’s most edifying is to see how many top agencies and brands rely on Cision to power their PR, as evidenced by 94% of PRWeek Award winners relying on us to help them achieve earned media greatness.

As the year comes to a close, the question now is who will you become and how we will we all change in 2019? What will the future look like and how will we shape it together?

If there is one thing for certain, we will become what we were always supposed to be; evolution and growth should be welcomed, not shunned. Here’s to a great 2019; the year of the PR!

About Abe Smith

President EMIA, Cision

An American in London driving transformation in Europe, Middle East, Africa and India in communications.