It’s about the past and the future, not the present

June 10 Knowing that PR Week is about to publish its annual list of the industry's '25 most powerful people' and Ad Age just published its '25 women to watch', I thought I'd weigh in with a few thoughts:

1) These lists reflect the here and now. Who really cares about the newly-minted head of global comms at Weber, The World Wildlife Fund or Weed Wacker? I'd much rather see what these gurus have accomplished in their uber posts over a period of time as opposed to what power they might wield.

2) I can't tell you how many power brokers from previous lists no longer hold their once lofty titles and influential posts. Many have bounced around from one job to the next or left the business entirely. One of Fortune's 50 most powerful women in business is now raising horses in the desert. In short, today's power broker is often tomorrow's job seeker.

3) These lists are popularity contests and reflect whose publicity team has done the best job of influencing the reporters who pull the rankings together.

Public relations and advertising are in the midst of unprecedented upheaval. Rather than trotting out the names of new heavyweights occupying the same old seats, PR Week, Ad Age and others should be digging deep to find out where the next Harold Burson, Chuck Porter or David Ogilvy will come from.

Traditional business models are being disintermediated as we speak. So, to answer PR Week's provocative question about its upcoming list: I couldn't care less if last year's most powerful person retains the number one rank this year. Ditto for Ad Age and its list: it's nice, but really rather irrelevant.

Do your readers a real service with your lists: tell us who's continually reinventing his or her business model every year and/or give me your best guess as to who's creating the future of marketing communications. Tell us who you think the disrupters will be and why. Do that and I'll actually care who finishes first.

These lists should be about the past and the future, not the present.

2 thoughts on “It’s about the past and the future, not the present

  1. I’m not so sure, Lunch. My sources said it was a mutual parting of the ways. And, said ‘girl’ is still quite young, so read into that what you will.

  2. Complete agreement coming from the cafeteria, Rep. However, I bet that gal is raising horses because she wants to, not because she’s without a job.