PR 1.0 vs PR 2.0 debate
Leading on from in-house vs consultancy findings brought into question the technological environment and its effect on public relations. A study of Britain’s 100 leading PR agencies, carried out in 2008 by internet marketing agency Bigmouthmedia, revealed that 79% of those surveyed had yet to develop online and social media services, while only 21% included online PR as part of their service.
According to Ben Locker and Associates an online copy writing agency wise companies want modern public relations, and only a very few agencies are able to offer a full-service package that includes effective online strategy – indeed, a significant number are themselves almost impossible to find in search engines, which is the greatest warning sign of all. Even so, full-service PR agencies are becoming increasingly irrelevant as they lose their status as the gatekeepers to effective publicity and promotion – greater democracy online means that many companies can safely bring elements of their PR work in-house, and mix-and-match complementary services from outside providers.
Online PR is the process of generating content about your business i.e. online news stories, blog entries, and comments on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. It is similar to traditional PR only the forms of communication are different, information will appear in offline media such as newspapers, magazines, TV and radio. It could be said that online media is easier to manage and monitor in terms of ROI, numbers of visitors can be traced, pay per click offers valuable figures and with quality analysis of conversations products and services can be developed better along with the ability to target audiences more efficiently.
Organisations such as Radian6 a platform that listens and engages with online communities and Industry Today an online press release, distribution, publication, optimisation service are available to offer expertise and aid companies to target their audience more effectively and can offer a range figures and information from analysis.
Facebook has over 500 million users, 50% of whom log in on a daily basis, users interact with around 900 million objects such as pages and groups, two thirds of comScores US top 100 websites and half of its global top 100 sites have integrated with Facebook and interestingly people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on this site (Admin, 2010). According to statistics found on the Internet World Stats site nearly 2 billion out of our estimated population of just below 7 billion have access to the internet, back in 2000 there were an estimated 370 million users an increase of 448%, imagine how these figures maybe in 10 years and what this means for public relations, becoming digital is inevitable.
JetBlue a successful domestic US American airline thought to be one of the most social media savvy and customer friendly companies out there (Brian Skepys, 2010) and Nestle have both been on the receiving end of the Facebook backlash. Greenpeace a successful pressure group launched an aggressive Facebook and YouTube campaign against the use of Nestle Palm Oil due to its links to loss of rainforests, species, inhabitants and green house emissions. The grim ‘killer-Kat’ campaign was launched, it received over 1.5 million viewings, over 200,000 emails were sent, hundreds of phone calls and countless Facebook comments were made, in response to this Nestle attempted to get the video banned and requested that fans did not use false logo’s as their profile badge, comments were removed and clearly Nestlé’s online pr team showed a lack of skills in how to deal with crisis management.
On a slightly more entertaining note flight attendant Steven Slater a now self made online celebrity hero who resigned from JetBlue after he lost his cool, grabbed a beer, slid down plane’s emergency chute and launched himself into Facebook stardom (David gardner, 2010) has highlighted a problem with crisis management as the company release just one comment on its blog referring to Steven Slater as ‘a little story about one of our flight attendants’ the post also indicates that no more comments will be made due to investigations and privacy of the individual. The company known for communicating with its 1.6 million Twitter followers and over 300,000 Facebook fans has nothing to say to all the conversations taking place surrounding this issue. Analysis revealed a 9% drop from 79% in positive conversations about JetBlue. This could be an opportunity to take advantage of this situation as it brings into question the flight attendant environment, this is a prime opportunity to show compassion, raise awareness and show support to real things going on behind the closed doors of aeroplanes??
Quite clearly pr 2.0 is very powerful, social media is an additional tool that requires patience diplomacy, forward thinking and crisis management. It is easy to be carried away with phenomenal figures but with the internet being the best form of virus around it is important to be able to deal with the consequences of actions. Much depends upon on which side of the fence you’re on as each argument presents us with fabulous pros and dangerous cons.
The CIPR define what PR is: ’Public relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you.
Public relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics.’
PR 1.0 is not dying and it is the core frame of Public Relations, today everything is still based on these items only we have alternate or extra ways to communicate, it is important that PRO’s are knowledgeable and have essential experience of modern PR but it doesn’t survive without going back to basics in order to understand how it works, combined PR will be more powerful than it was yesterday and I firmly believe that traditional agencies incorporating online activities will increase especially as younger people join the industry having grown up surrounded by gadgets such as the ipad, social networking sites and more. Perhaps those in favour of modern public relations who own a business specialising in online activities will suffer in the long run as they put all their eggs in one basket, better to tread carefully.
Admin. (2010). Facebook Statistics. Available: http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics. Last accessed
Admin. (2010). Removing links ‘helps search engine marketing’. Available: http://www.clickthrough-marketing.com/removing-links-helps-search-engine-marketing-800076840/. Last accessed September 2010.
Brian Skepys. (2010). Steven Slater: and Why traditional PR crisis won’t cut it . Available: http://socialmediainfluence.com/2010/08/12/jet-blue-steven-slater-and-why-traditional-pr-crisis-management-wont-cut-it/. Last accessed September 2010.
David Gardner. (2010). World discovers a new hero. Available: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1301798/JetBlue-flight-attendant-Steven-Slater-quits-job-style-luggage-row-passenger.html. Last accessed September 2010.