We have all heard people saying that PR has been “turned upside down” by social media or that traditional PR is dead. But, is it?
Since the very beginning, the aim of Public Relations has been to manage reputation of an individual or an organisation. Has the goal changed? No, it is still very much the same.
That said, one thing has indeed changed: the tools. It is just like how PR has evolved with new technologies; when the telephone became widely spread, when the fax arrived in every office or when computers and email quickened the exchange of information (do you remember the time when PRs would hand write envelopes to send press releases?). This is why, today, any PR professional has to integrate social media into its portfolio of tools - just like they did for all the previous technologies - and decide whether or not it is the right communication channel for their tactics.
Yes, social media has transformed reputation management. The influence hubs have shifted away from traditional media and the information lifecycle is shorter than ever. Take, for example, the speed at which Google’s leaked financial results were commented on this week. This is now a real-time process and this is where PR consultants can have their say, especially as the core of their skills is handling the media.
So, what does that mean for agencies today? Tune in, turn on or drop out! Accept that technology changes, but keep on doing the same job - managing the perception consumers have of their clients, as we have done for almost two centuries.