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 important especially with the explosion of information channels on the Internet. Today monitoring includes watching what is written and reported in traditional print and broadcast media and also keeping an eye on discussions occurring through various Internet outlets such as forums, chatrooms, blogs 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 the company. When a problem with a product arises — in fact or substantiated only by rumor — a marketer’s investment in a product and brand can be in serious jeopardy. Today, with the prevalence of the Internet and wireless communications, negative information can spread rapidly. Through monitoring marketers can track the issues and respond in a timely fashion. To manage response effectively, many companies have crises management plans in place that outline steps to take and company spokespeople to speak on behalf of the company should an event occur.