Public relations has always been a game-changer in the world of marketing and communications industry. It has always given a better shape to the company and made it look more approachable and trending to the people out there. But today’s digital era has helped it take a step even further. Digital media has brought tremendous changes to the industry. A brand today is not what it offers but is how it is perceived by the consumers and digital media helps to give a positive outlook to the company.
Digital media can either pose a great threat for you or come to you as a bigger boon. The trick is how the person concerned handles it. Like in the case of Indigo, social media created great havoc for them at that time when a passenger posted a video of being manhandled by the crew on the tarmac. While at the same time, social media helped Zomato position itself as a company who doesn’t discriminate when the company replied to a customer’s complaint about his food being delivered by a Muslim guy by saying, “Food has no religion.” More or less, it depends how one uses Public Relations in the digital age.
Social/digital media also works the other way round. Sometimes when the internet blows up with criticizing comments about a certain company, the loyal followers of the brand answer the complaints without letting the company go through the pain of officially responding to all the complaints like in the case of Nat Geo’s purpose-led cover story ‘Planet or Plastic’ came in wrapped in a plastic cover. Other communication experts, however, believe that brands have to be available and it is the speed at which they tackle the problem that matters.
If we talk about influencers, there has always been a debate about their authenticity. People question whether they are as useful as they are portrayed or not. An influencer may have millions of followers but are they legitimate? Even if they are, are they relevant for the brand? Influencers can be of great help if chosen wisely. For example, TikTok influencers are creating great 15 seconds content these days that help to promote a brand by creating awareness on a great scale.
One of the problems that digital poses are with these many new platforms, the data that’s being accumulated has reached even greater heights. The research has to become a lot stronger with new social media platforms popping up every day. Another problem is the ROI. Marketers want to see immediate results while digital media can only reap long term results. On one hand, communicators and advertisers are often compared and on the other, the lines between PR and marketing are blurring. CMOs and CEOs have to say that marketing is becoming more like PR and vice versa.
But at the end of the day, everyone agrees that digital media has opened vast fields of opportunities for the communicators and gifted them with wide and enhanced spaces to operate comfortably. Digital media, in every sense, has been a boon.