The Paradigm Shift of Public Relations
by: Jerry Liao
THE INTERNET has changed the way people communicate and interact with each other, be it personal or professional. Under the old rules, press releases can only be published if it was picked up by the media. With the Internet, companies have turned themselves into publishers — by creating their own corporate websites and doing their own publishing using their own press releases.
The popular Spiderman phrase “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” can be applied with the newfound power brought about by the Internet. Companies should put more emphasis on Transparency, Honesty, Integrity, Reputation and Dignity (THIRD) in delivering their news. They cannot just publish any information they want – users nowadays are more informed and more knowledgeable and they are also given the same power that is provided corporations. Users can easily set up their own blogs and publish their own stories about certain products as well.
Take this for example: A PR company along with its client (an ICT company) has been providing this columnist with their products for review. I make it a point to write what I really think about the product. Since most of their products are good, of course the articles that are coming out are good as well. This PR firm and the ICT company will make it a point to invite me in all their events and press conferences. And as they say, some good things never last.
One day, this PR firm provided me a product of this ICT company which I must say is one of the worst products in the market. As per my principle, I will write a review based on what I really think about the product — my loyalty is with my readers and no one else To cut the story short, the PR firm and ICT company didn’t like my article about their product. From that day on — they’ve stopped sending me their products for review and I was no longer invited to any of their events. Worst, it has been two years and this PR firm and ICT company are still acting like kids — never realizing that I was only doing my job.
The reason why I am relating this story to you is because when you visit the company’s website, the product I reviewed came with all praises. But if you visit other websites that make reviews and user blogs, most if not all had something not so nice to say about the product — both local and international websites. The product simply sucks.
Now if you have a corporate website saying their product is good, and you have hundreds of sites all over saying the product sucks — who do you think users would believe? Not only will the reviews spell the downfall of the product but users will also wonder and question the goal of such companies — are they out to provide quality products and services to their customers, or are they simply out there to make a sale. This is the great responsibility that comes with great power we are talking about. Remember THIRD — Transparency, Honesty, Integrity, Reputation and Dignity.
How about the actions of this PR firm and the ICT company? Well it seems they are friends only with the members of the media who they can control and manipulate and be enemies to those who go against their will in the name of truth. I am glad that we are on the other side of the fence doing what we are tasked to do: To educate and provide factual information to our readers.
In the next edition of TechAdvisor, we will continue discussing the paradigm shift of public relations and this time we will be focusing on public relations companies and how to develop content that will drive action for you.