The Cycle

Public relations 3.0? What the…

Sometimes editors fall so in love with their ideas, they neglect to properly explain them. Judging by some of the blog posts about our “Public Relations 3.0″ agency business report cover line, that seems to be the case here.

In spite of what our critics may think, we do not believe that PR has surpassed digital progress, only that it is an older industry, one that is now in its third true period of evolution. Of course, that evolution is largely informed by the digital era, and that is why it is so closely connected.

Honestly, I thought it was obvious. When I started covering the industry in 2000, it was already in the midst of a long-running transition from providing focusing on communicating to the media and to the public through the media, to its place in the C-suite where managing corporate reputation, CSR, employee engagement, and boosting sales would be part of the job description.

Now public relations is at the beginning of its third age, when it is demonstrating its unique facility for navigating environments where the companies and brands have less and less control. Rather than lamenting the decline of traditional media’s influence, the PR industry is embracing the new platforms and communities that test their creativity and the authenticity of the messages.

This change is happening much more rapidly than with PR’s previous transition, when even two years ago we were still getting letters to the editor about how little respect the profession is afforded. But even if the changes are occurring quickly, they are no less significant.

So that’s the rationale. Public Relations 2.0 was simply not far enough - the industry has quite suddenly found itself facing a refreshingly high set of expectations from clients and the public alike.

Opinions re: 3.0 can be found here.

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