There seems to be this dogma out there that public relations is just a less volatile form of advertising. In some instances, I would have to agree with that. It often does seem like companies try to use public relations as a way to blow over any issues that arise externally. However, I feel that if executed correctly, public relations is a really helpful tool in implementing feedback.
It’s no longer just about the company. In this day and age, everything is based around the consumer. The consumer has easy access to the entire world through any form of social media on the Internet. This means that bad press cannot be controlled by the PR practitioner, instead it has to be appeased. The process of feedback works best here because if the consumer realizes that a company decided to take his or her opinions into consideration, he or she will begin to see the loyalty of the company brand. It’s a crucial form of two-way communication that is the foundation for any business and it is the responsibility of the PR communicator to make sure the channels are clear at all times.
As a student in the Principles of Public Relations class at USF, I feel that I have learned a plethora of crucial information pertaining to the field. This semester has primarily focused on learning how PR coordinates within the overall marketplace and the specific duties of the PR practitioner. The class uses real time examples to explain the situations PR can be used to resolve, and enable. For instance, PR has been used in Africa recently to communicate symptoms of Ebola and to show sick natives where to seek treatment. PR has also been used to market an entire line of new technologies created by Apple. It has also been misused in cases as a result of poor research, such as a pizza company advocating domestic violence through a trending hashtag.
Despite all the flaws and undiscovered waters that have yet to be tread in public relations, it remains an important tool for corporate responsibility, community outreach, transparency and resolved feedback. PR exists for the protection of the consumer and the company, which is a very difficult line to blend.
Below is a video about the influence of social media in economics which describes its importance in social media-driven consumer feedback.