In both PR and reputation management the objective is all about influencing the kind of information users see; one using traditional media while the other uses the web. While the objectives of each practice are similar, the methodologies used are quite different, the biggest being the characteristics of the medium employed by each one.
Here is a comparison of those characteristics and their role in the evolution of brand development and protection:
1) The lifespan of published content – Public Relations, with its reliance on print, television and the news cycle employs venues with extremely short lifespans for the distribution of content. Whether it’s a newspaper or an item on the news, the timeframe that people will be able to access it lasts from a few minutes to a few days. Content published on the internet remains accessible forever, unless it’s taken down by the publisher.
2) The leveling of the field in publishing – Prior to the rise of the internet, the number of publishing outlets was finite and accessible to the few, which benefitted PR companies trying to control the distribution of information. Now, anyone can publish anything on the web, which has moved the battle to the search engines where reputation management companies do their work.
3) Relationship versus link based brand building/defense – PR has always been a relationship based business where getting content out was directly related to “Who you know”. As brand building/defense has moved to the web, the only thing that matters is the number and quality of links, which determines search engine rankings.
The evolution of the internet has changed the characteristics of distributed content. This, in turn, is changing the way that brands are built and protected.