In addition to serving as means for helping to achieve marketing objectives, public relations professionals may undertake additional activities, aimed at maintaining a positive image for an organization. These activities include:
Monitoring public comment about a company and its products is becoming increasingly necessary, especially with the explosion of digital media outlets. Today monitoring not only includes watching what is written and reported in traditional print and broadcast media, it requires attention be paid to discussions occurring through social media, news websites, discussion forums, blogs, podcasts, and other public messaging areas. Marketers must be prepared to respond quickly to erroneous information and negative opinions about products as it can spin out of control very quickly through the new technology channels. Failure to correct misinformation can be devastating to a product or company’s reputation. It should be noted that specialized monitoring services can be contracted to help companies keep track of “buzz” about the company and its products.
Marketers need to be prepared to respond quickly to negative information about their organization. When a problem with a product arises, whether real or substantiated only by rumor, a marketer’s investment in a product can be in serious jeopardy. Today, with the prevalence of digital media, negative information can spread rapidly. Using monitoring tools marketers can track the issues and respond in a timely fashion. Additionally, to manage response effectively, many companies, led by their public relations staff, have a crisis management plan in place that outlines steps to take and the company spokespeople authorized to speak on behalf of the company should an event occur.