The future of PR in an online world


According to a blog post by Chris Abraham, “Chris Brogan said it best the other day on Twitter, “customer service is the new PR.” Looking at what @comcastcares has been able to do, customer service is the new PR, the new marketing, and the new advertising.

I’m looking into the future of PR as struggling traditional media transitions to online-only.

Twitter and other social networks does provide companies with new ways to monitor what’s being said about them. Both Comcast and Dell have been lauded for their successful online initiatives.

It seems to me that customer service is important — esp. during a downturn — and that it is a function that is undervalued (and likely underfunded), and deserves a place at the table.

But to limit PR, marketing and advertising to a support role in the customer service world seems to do a disservice to each discipline. It’s vital to keep current customers happy, but the population of a company’s customers using Twitter may be a subsection of the total. I use Twitter (PRPresident), but I think marketers need to keep in mind two things:

  1. Not everyone uses Twitter.
  2. Twitter and a number of the other social networks either have not monetized their services or have an advertising-supported business model — and we’re in the midst of one of the longest post-WWII recession. So who knows how long these services can survive in their current form?

Marketers need to reach out to customers and potential customers in a variety of channels and approaches. PR is more than customer service — they should work together, and I’d bet not enough companies currently are doing so.

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