There is a conversation that runs through most public relations campaigns, and those in public health and government aren’t immune to it. It’s this idea that if we just got someone famous to say our message, we could truly gain some traction. Many people in public health readily point to the work that Jenny McCarthy has done on vaccine denial as an example of that star power.
What many people in public relations are starting to notice is that star power is starting to wane. As our public becomes more savvy in information consumption–and more social in their information consumption–they’ve begun to de-value the recommendations of actors (not in the movie sense) who are paid. They are, instead, listening to their friends and family and trusted folks, and in turn, placing extra value on the recommendations they’ve gleaned from the trusted circle. Brand advocates is what the fancy PR folks call them. One of those fancy PR folks, Jay Baer, passes along this infographic detailing the difference between the two: