Panelists debate social media at VOICEBOXX

This morning I attended Weber Shandwick's annual VOICEBOXX event, where a high-profile panel discussed the changes and challenges in the communications environment, and shared their experiences managing social media.

This morning I attended Weber Shandwick's annual VOICEBOXX event, where a high-profile panel discussed the changes and challenges in the communications environment, and shared their experiences managing social media.

Social media was the main topic of conversation as the panel discussed policies and approaches. One of the themes I heard from each panelist was the importance of being transparent and a facilitator, but not driver, of the conversation. David Steel, EVP of strategy and corporate comms, Samsung North America, said he has a laissez-faire or hands-off attitude to social media. Even the Army's CMO, Bruce Jasurda, feels stories are best told by the soldiers and it doesn't censor its social media and interactive websites.

Peter Land, SVP of communications, PepsiCo, noted that social media isn't always the answer, using Gatorade and Pepsi Max as examples. The company went the traditional route with big television campaigns, and it worked for both brands. For Mountain Dew, however, PepsiCo went the opposite route and mainly used social media, as it was the “right place, right time, and right brand.”

The event, snappily titled Breaking Through the Sound Barrier: How to Get Heard in a Death-by-Information-Overloaded World, Leveraging Communications as an Innovation and Business Performance Driver, concluded with Weber chairman Jack Leslie's cautionary statement that “no one really knows where all this is going.

For more coverage of the event watch our PRWeek video.

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