Public relations firms have begun to adopt a descriptor that I think more accurately describes what some of us do; reputation management. The term originated with the internet and search engine results and has been used by companies promising to rid your company of all those nasty negative posts and comments that damage your brand’s reputation. As used here, and by Jaggers Communications, it is the practice of applying smart communications to tell the story of your business in a way that, yes, affects search results when one goes looking for information about your brand, but also the longer-term effect of educating, changing perceptions and establishing who you are, what you do, and what you do well.
I refer to my firm as a reputation management firm. I find that it’s far easier a concept for people to understand than public relations ever was. I remember comparing notes with others in public relations for years on the question, “does your family understand what it is that you do?” Our families often didn’t!
I think that lack of understanding has dissipated somewhat. I think there is more of a general, global understanding of social media and its impact; of the need for companies to have a communications strategy in place, and to be sharing the news of their business frequently and consistently.