For once, I have to agree with Stuart Bruce that public relations is about reputation and the management of reputation.
This debate got me thinking about another battle which is taking place out there in the various boardrooms across the globe and that is the battle for the emerging budgets for social media campaigns.
Digital agencies are well prepared for the battle as they already have SEO experts, CSS designers, web developers and digital marketers on site in their offices right now. If they are forward thinking they are already searching for online PR specialists to add to their teams because they feel that this will give them what appears to be the complete package.
Advertising agencies and digital marketing companies have been much better at packaging their products and selling social media/online PR as an add on because traditionally their budgets have been far greater than ours in this industry.
Apart from a few specialist companies that I respect public relations companies still seem to be scratching their heads working out how to get their hands on these new budgets which are now being identified. Many PR people just want to start practicing what they are preaching.
In my opinion social media campaigns should be driven by PR people because we are used to managing reputations offline and so we should be perfect to manage them online too. I am not saying PR people are perfect but we have the necessary skills to deliver reputation management online. I would strongly advise against digital marketing agencies hiring new people who aren’t PR practitioners to deal with this space because if something goes wrong it will be their own reputation that is on the line.
However, it still remains to be seen if the marketers of this world think public relations should drive their social media campaigns. Time will tell.