PR 2.0 – The Next Wave of Public Relation

What is this I heard that a company recently is looking for a new public relation (PR) company to work with them. To the dismay of this company, most of those who participated in the bidding process are ill equipped with what public relation is really all about. Worst, this company even informed me that these PR companies are charging an arm and a leg – the highest is one million pesos a month for PR fee. Crazy really.

Public relation as we know it is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics. Here in the Philippines, PR companies are tasks to deal with the media and for crisis management if in case a crisis does happen. To me, PR should help an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other, media included. The other functions of PR should include research, planning, communications dialogue and evaluation.

With the increasing popularity of technology, a new kind of PR is born, and this is called PR 2.0. Simply put, PR 2.0 is how public relations integrates with technology. Unless PR companies innovate, they will be out of business in no time.

I tried visiting websites of PR companies here in the Philippines and the results were disappointing. Not all have websites. Some websites are simply brochureware. Some websites are not browser friendly. Some websites takes a long time to load. Majority of the sites I visited were purely “aesthetics”, no content at all.

The main difference of the old PR and PR 2.0 is the meaning of communication. The old PR is so used to a one way communication. They send press releases in the hope that newspapers will carry it and then period. PR 2.0 is a two-way communication. The new PR is about creating, participating in conversations and community.

Arrogance reigns in some PR companies thinking that without them, no message will be released. There are PR companies who are more arrogant than their clients and worst, arrogant and disrespectful to media. What is the worst PR company there is? A PR company who doesn’t know what PR is all about coupled with a stinking attitude.

Some PR companies think they control everything. With PR 2.0, nobody is in control. Today, no one owns the message. An organization’s positioning is created organically as the result of its actions and the conversation around it. The audience are no longer passive but participative.

I will tell you more about PR 2.0 in my next article, but for now, let me share with you a conversation I had with an executive during a press conference. I attended their event and was surprised to see that they don’t have their PR company with them. So I asked him “Sir, where is your PR company?” This is his reply:

“Honestly, I do not understand the essence of having a PR company if their job is to simply organize the event, choose the venue, select the food, invite the members of the press and distribute press releases. Why pay a third party to do that when we can do it more effectively on our own?”

This executive even went to the extent of saying that PR is a business for making a quick profit unless they give added-value service to the company. Need I say more? Watch out for the second part of this article.

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