Log on to Twitter and it’s easy to find companies getting trashed for careless business practices (like creating an environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico). On Facebook, corporations have their fan pages inundated with negative comments about lackluster customer service and local restaurants get to read reviews from unsatisfied guests. In an age of social media, it may appear to many that the PR industry is facing challenges that are threatening its very existence. Companies seem to be left defenseless to open mass media critique at any time from just about anybody with an internet connection.
Despite these new challenges, PR is going through an age of revitalization. Over the past year PR has been adapting new techniques to reach consumers, and expanding in ways never seen before.
Traditionally, PR has fought to establish itself as more than just fluff; immeasurable marketing or meaningless corporate rhetoric. The PR industry has had to rely on relationships with journalists as the sole channel to broadcast messages. Now the PR industry is using new media to develop a complex identity. This new identity blends with other pieces of the communications puzzle, as PR practitioners take on a hybrid role as journalists, advertisers, and marketers.
PR professionals can now reach consumers directly. Companies are taking on endeavors such as running microsites with blogs about philanthropy initiatives or creating viral videos and vignettes. Social media has given companies the chance to extend a brand image that can connect with consumers. [Read more…]