Redefining PR: Public Relations Turns To Personal Relationships

By Tonita Proulx, Business Partnerships

Published: February 11, 2016

Public Relations — Using the news or business press to carry positive stories about your company or your products; cultivating a good relationship with local press representatives.

Personal Relationships — Close connections between people, formed by emotional bonds and interactions. These bonds often grow from and are strengthened by mutual experiences.

The difference? A one-way push vs. a two way conversation.

Goodbye To Public Relations

To say there is an ongoing shift in public relations is an understatement. We’re well past the days of faxing a press release to a local newsroom. Instead, we live in a world of 24/7. 365 connectivity between brands and the public, with little left unsaid or unnoticed.

Perhaps the most significant changes have occurred most recently, as the Internet and social media like blogs, Facebook and Twitter have transformed the relationship between the members of the public and those communicating with them. A process that for decades went one way — from the top down, usually as a monologue — now goes two ways, and is typically a conversation.

“Before the rise of social media, public relations was about trying to manage the message an entity was sharing with its different audiences,” according to a NY Times article. “Now, P.R. is more about facilitating the ongoing conversation in an always-on world.” So, we say goodbye to traditional push public relations.

Hello To Personal Relationships

Enter 2016 — a world where the ordinary consumer is walking around with global publishing power in his or her pocket, where the role of public relations and corporate communications has shifted from creating content to attempting to influence the content that’s created by others.

Today’s PR is about transparency. It’s about embracing your complainers. It’s about having real, open and honest conversations with current and potential customers. It’s about truly becoming a social business focused on creating lasting personal relationships with those you work with.

Yet, a social business is different than social media. A social business is one that recognizes it needs to be more open, more transparent. You can be a social business without technology. It all comes down to changing your mindset, your culture, and leveraging “the human touch.” Changing your company to be less corporate, less “I can’t talk to you unless it goes through a press department” — and more “look, I have something that is of value to you.”

Social media gives us the ability to listen, learn, track, measure; but most importantly it gives us the ability to have a two way dialogue to nurture relationships that hopefully, one day, translate to sales and loyal customers. Because customers today don’t want to talk to The Company or have corporate messages thrown, they want to talk to the people within the company — the humans that make it all work and who, at the end of the day, can build a personal relationship on behalf of the brand.

Are you ready to build stronger relationships with your customers? Let’s chat!