Public relations needs to value reputation online

Scoble asks  Why bash Microsoft and not Nokia? over the issue of sending review products to bloggers?   The ensuing debate considers Microsoft’s monopoly and the way the company is perceived (its reputation) as factors.  In addition the power of word of mouth (ie comments on Scoble’s initial post on the topic) to fuel a crisis is identified.

Views on the role of public relations are also posted – including interesting quote from  that “American journalists have always been more on the “holier than thou” side of this debate. They won’t even accept a sandwich from a PR person.”  This highlights the importance of the “receiver” in such communications processes.

Clearly a lot to consider in terms of ethics, transparency, blogger-psychology and how traditional PR techniques are being challenged in cyberspace.  But most important the issue of having a good reputation – which applies equally to PR firm Edelman which is now scrutinised for its role in working with big companies.

has an ongoing battle with Edelman’s online tactics – and discussed the challenges in working with bloggers rather than traditional journalists.  Interesting to see the Consumerist use a traditional PR technique – awards – to highlight the issue of flogs (fake blogs).  The predictably target big brand names:

McDonald’s, for 4Railroads and Mcdmillionwinner
Walmart, for Walmarting Across America
Sony, for All I Want For Xmas Is A PSP

In presenting the award for 2006 to Sony – Ben Popken says: “there’s a difference between spinning an engaging story virally and outright duplicity…. people should be asking, “How can we use these really powerful and interesting tools to tell a better story?”  I couldn’t agree more.


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Heather Yaxley

Heather Yaxley is passionate about PR - teaching the CIPR qualifications, lecturing part-time at Bournemouth University and running the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA). I'm undertaking a PhD looking at Career Strategies in PR. I love sharing ideas and knowledge - connecting news and views by blogging on public relations and educational developments, especially relating to accelerated and active learning. I'm also a published author, qualified trainer and experienced consultant.