MIAMI—Companies must radically change their internal cultures if they hope to benefit from the realtime marketing era, said business strategist David Meerman Scott at today's 2014 Global PR Summit. 

Scott, speaking in a session entitled 'Ready for real-time: building a successful agile communications culture', drew on his experiences as a marketer and author of several books on realtime to explore why companies still struggle with the speed and agility that is required.

"The biggest barrier is fear," said Scott. "It's really scary for comapnies. It's the realization that people have to make a complete lifestyle change."

In particular, Scott pointed to fear of lawyers, and the need to shift the way organizations think across all aspects of their operations.

"Speed and agility is a competitive advantage," said Scott. "The whole organization has to build a complete realtime infrastructure."

Scott believes the PR industry is best placed to lead when it comes to realtime, because of its natural understanding of the news agenda. He used numerous examples to illustrate this, including Ben & Jerry's famous tweet regarding marijuana in Colorado.  

"This is our opportunity," said Lewis. "We know about this realtime idea. We live it."

The benefits, said Scott, are clear. Realtime marketing humanises brands and generates the kind of advocacy that is incredibly precious in such a fragmented media world. To illustrate this point, Scott pointed to the CIA's Twitter account, and to CEOs that tweet, notably Hubspot CEO Brian Halligan.

Lewis PR founder/CEO Chris Lewis, who moderated the session, added that PR people have the "situational fluency" to best understand realtime trends, but must learn to think in a more visual manner if they hope to capitalise.