Criticising the presence of public relations in developing corporate blogs (clogs), Richard Rothstein writes: “Word of mouth information is personal endorsement spread by independent individuals we trust, as opposed to paid spokespersons. Buzz originates with individuals who speak from the heart. And most importantly, the true power and influence of word of mouth and buzz is that they are “earned” not sponsored.”
This in undoubtedly true – but what people choose to “buzz” about is as likely to relate to the actions of organisations as anything else. The adage is that “bad buzz” about negative customer experiences spreads quickly and widely.
Andy Green believes PR should be redefined, putting corporate memes (buzzable messages) at the heart of its responsibilities: ‘Public relations is about creating sustainable added value for an organisation’s reputation by managing its brand, actions, memes and networking’
Of course clogs differ from personal blogs in their remit to communicate about, or specifically promote, an organisation, but what is the matter with that? Most bloggers have a personal agenda. Aren’t organisations as entitled to speak from the heart and gain the trust of their publics as any individual? Provided the clog is open and transparent about its roots, then it is the duty of PR to manage the memes and engage with public networks.