I came across this interesting post by Dan Slee on the death of PR. I think he is on the right track, but I disagree with his conclusion.
Endless content means we need endless PR.
I think PR is now reaching its culminating point. It is now more relevant than ever. The demand for endless content is the PR dream. The endless demand for content means there is a need for endless PR. Why?
Is your brand so strong it can survive on word of mouth alone?
Who can realistically believe that brands can a) rely on their own content (they have to make the product) b) wait for word of mouth to shape their product (very few products can survive the sheer nihilistic frenzy of the snark and sarcasm sharks on the internet.) Even if the Messiah came back tomorrow, I shudder to think of the parody accounts and digital dirt that would appear within hours if not minutes. You need someone to manage the story online. (I exaggerate for effect, but it shows the difficulty of either believing that word of mouth will solve your brand issues or that you can rely on your own efforts).
PR is there to protect your product as much as to promote it.
The reality is that in this blizzard of content, conflicting images, and corrosive cynical criticism, PR stands as a shield, savior, and sentinel for the brands. We need PR. We want PR. Deep down in places we don’t want to talk about our brand desperately needs PR to survive.
PR is now more about excellent customer service, or is it the other way around?
What has changed is what PR is or how it works. It is no longer spin or journalese, Andrew Sullivan sees through that with his hits on advertorial journalism (neither fish nor fowl). Instead, PR is now the steady work of someone who knows the product, can respond in real time to snark and cynicism as well as provide a positive (but not smarmy and cynically obsequious) content to nurture the brand. This is more than reputation management, which is defensive and reactive, PR is about proactive and promotion, without the stunts so artificial that it looks as if you are sending up your own product with a PR company.
In many ways, the successful twitter feeds show the new PR model that is emerging. The new PR is not a large Saatchi firm (which is more advertising than PR) but more a well trained team that understands PR in principle and turns into good customer service, or rather good customer service that is the best PR.
PR needs to be able to answer this question or your brand is doomed.
As your clients and customers, would you hire the person who served you/helped you/ guided you and you know you have PR that money cannot buy. Can your brand answer that question correctly?
PR is dead, long live PR! (Fuelled by a small cup of decaffeinated coffee.)