Digital and it’s effects on the PR industry – is it all just a facade?

Earlier on this week we had a very interesting and engaging lecture by Ann Longley, Partner at Bell Pottinger Digital, where we talked a lot about PR planning and it’s importance, as well as the roles for practitioners within it.

One of the concepts that grabbed my attention and that I want to share with you is looking at what the new social media landscape looks like in the brandsphere, and how it can be seen through if we look into it carefully – so lets take a look!

When we analyse digital, one of the biggest uses of it is social media (leForrester-googleplust’s face it, who doesn’t come into contact with hundreds of brands on their social news feed every day?) and so it’s obviously a useful communication channel that people have tapped into – and no wonder! Social media has one of the biggest reaches out of all the digital channels, and if we look at the diagram to the left we can see that Facebook was the top channel in 2014 – I wonder if this has changed for 2015?

Now, there are a few ways brands get their identity out there through digital sharing – 5 ways in fact!


What’s really interested me though is actually how much we as consumers think about how a brand has reached us, and if it’s genuine?

Take paid interest for example – here, a company have gone out of their way to pay an agency to promote their brand. For example, when we see tweets from people we don’t follow on our feeds – that’s from companies who have done this! However, this is where I start to see cracks – if someones promoted their brand to everyone, they don’t really want my personal engagement and haven’t done anything spectacular to be commended on/talked about.

However, earned sharing is a totally different (and in my opinion more honest) way of promoting your brand. This is when a company have been talked about by their stakeholders through no prompting, and people have shared/promoted the brand based on their good reputation. Personally, I’d much rather take up an interest in a brand because someone recommended it, than it being forced into my news feed so I had to consume it!

For me, owned social media engagement isn’t such a facade either – the brand are investing time in their digital stakeholder relations, making us as consumers feel like they want to engage with us, rather than have to!

When we were introduced to the concept I could instantly see the flaws – and I hope you can too now! It’s great that brands are using digital and social media to promote their identity, but its important to evaluate the quality and effort that has gone in before investing your time!

Enjoy this post? Want to read more? The link below gives some really useful insights!


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