The rise of public relations and public affairs

All these developments point to the increasing importance of one marketing discipline: PR and public affairs. The growth of the internet plays to the traditional strengths of PR and public affairs, where relationships need to be built with opinion formers and good editorial cannot be bought, only influenced. Blogs, social networks and customer websites are a new form of editorial, as important if not more important than the New York Times. Because they are fast and have a more intimate relationship with their readers, blogs can cause disproportionate harm to a brand – or conversely bring great benefit. PR can influence them in a way paid-for advertising cannot.

Monthly worldwide unique visitors to Twitter m

Monthly worldwide unique visitors to Twitter m
Source: comScore

PR will never replace traditional advertising but in the new electronic media, it is a measurable way of building a brand. Chinese and Indian manufacturers will need its services to bring their products to the West, as they go beyond being makers of cheap generic goods to creators of value-added brands. Equally, burgeoning global powers will need PR to smooth their ways to places of influence in the world. And the financial institutions blamed for the credit crunch will need to buff up their tarnished reputations. In all these cases, PR will help.