“For what it’s worth” is the idiomatic phrase used when giving someone a piece of information that may or may not be seen as useful or important. In many ways, it’s emblematic of public relations and marketing and a glimpse into our last 20 years.
Does anyone care that we’ve reached 20 years? Considering that one in two businesses don’t survive past five years, we think it’s a notable milestone. Of those that do survive, even fewer can claim they’ve been profitable every year, something we have been able to do since 2003. In the professional services business, that’s a reflection on talent, operations, marketing and, of course, our ability to deliver consistently and meaningfully.
Putting our years aside, if we deconstruct the idea — “for what it’s worth,” we can go fairly deep into the purpose of a firm like ours. The worth is information. Of course, there’s no shortage of information in the market. Our challenge (and opportunity) is to distill what’s meaningful, then disseminate it to the people with credible channels for sharing. Whether it goes from our hands to the reporter, the influencer, the podcaster, the talk show host, the conference organizer, the community leader, or whomever – we must make it worthy. That’s how we influence people’s decisions to consider, engage, share and ultimately buy.
Information can be a brand, a story, a speech, a website or even an ad. All worth it if the end user can somehow learn, discover, share or benefit. But the channels of today are many, and their credibility is constantly shifting. The words of influencers have gained considerable worth, while some say the shrinking reach of traditional media outlets has lessened theirs. And of course, there’s an endless supply of social media platforms to continue to vet.
Regarding its current worth, Facebook is always in question, but one can’t ignore the 2.9 billion “active” users. TikTok has the most momentum, but for what it’s worth, it faces a political quagmire. Then there’s the metaverse, a Second Life reboot with a similar degree of anticipation and disappointment. And let’s not forget AI and its growing influence on what information looks like and where we should find it.
So in our 20th year, we will acknowledge and celebrate. We think it’s worth it. And the next day, we will continue our charge – to be worthy to our clients and make it worthwhile for our staff.