things are happening to PR at the moment.
Economist this week carries a great article describing PR’s rising fortunes and the decline of advertising as king of
the marketing communications jungle.
Not the most most important piece of information or commentary in the piece, more of an aside really, was an observation that some PR companies now describe their services as "brand communications".
said to someone the other day that "public relations" sometimes felt about as useful to me as
a phrase as "new media". PR and new media, as descriptors, have both lost their currency somewhat, misplaced
their meaning, become unclear or limiting for a lot of people. You say them meaning one thing but worry that the person you’re speaking is probably hearing something else.
I’m discussing connected media, the interactions between traditional media
(newspapers, TV stations) and social media (blogs, podcasts, folksonomies) what
I want to say is "new media" but, ironically, that phrase doesn’t
express the new-ness of the models, relationships and disruptions in the media that are taking place. New media makes you think of websites, the late 90s and not a lot else.
This is probably the reason the industry’s own bible dropped "new media" for an acronym "NMA". I guess that’s also why those who don’t find it sticks in their craw, like to use
the phrase Web 2.0 to describe the new phase of innovation in Web media.
wanting to get boxed in again and have people think I’m just talking about
wikis and blogs is why I prefer the phrase connected media to new media.
Getting boxed semantically in is
also why I sometimes feel that PR as a descriptor may lose, or already be losing, its usefulness.
years of the industry failing to describe itself clearly, or define itself
apart from charlatans who borrow its name, is PR so misunderstood and abused
that it should be discarded? Should PR re-brand itself?
is the good that goes with it (that fact that people have heard of it, the fact
that The Economist is running articles saying it’s on the up) enough to make
us stick with it?
way of looking at it is to ask, will the name PR survive the evolution into a
discipline that engages with connected media? Are we all in "brand
I’m not sure. But like everything else when there’s more potential in a market for disruption in than status quo, it’s up for grabs.