Selasa, 17 November 2009

Public Relations and The Journalists

According to marketing educator Thomas L. Harris, however, many consumers fail to make a distinction between advertising and PR when the two are used together. “I don’t think the consumer is so astute as to be aware of or object to various product placement,” Harris writes in an email interview. In fact, he argues in Value-Added Public Relations (NTC, 1998) that it may be nearly impossible to determine where PR ends and advertising begins in an integrated marketing campaign.
This lack of distinction may ultimately lead to a loss of PR credibility. Says Carole Gorney, Professor and Director of the Center for Crisis Public Relations and Litigation Studies at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, “Public relations credibility has been damaged because it is often heavily involved in and associated with marketing products. It is difficult to maintain the needed objectivity when one’s job depends on how well the product is promoted and how well it sells. If at some point down the road the product is accused of causing harm, that same PR practitioner is called on to defend the product. It’s no wonder that the media is a tiny bit skeptical.”
The practice known as press agentry has not helped matters. Press agents, who create newsworthy stories and events to attract media attention and gain public notice, have a reputation for stretching the truth or going even further to promote a story. Says Paul S. Forbes, chairman emeritus of the Forbes Group, “Just because someone uses a press release as a tool doesn’t make it public relations or even marketing. It’s not the tool that defines public relations but the purpose to which it is put.” Although press agents are generally frowned upon by public relations professionals, the textbook Effective Public Relations notes that “most public relations practitioners engage in a little press agentry at some time or another to achieve public notice through publicity” (Prentice Hall, 2000).
Some marketing professionals argue that PR cannot — and should not — be related directly to the overall success or failure to achieve marketing objectives and sales goals.
Certainly there is less potential for charges of unethical conduct if PR is not tied to return on investment. In any case, there are no magic formulas that predict how positive or negative media coverage translates to sales or stock prices. And PR can presumably be measured in terms of return on investment in a direct way only when it is the sole marketing strategy as, for example, in business-to-business marketing.

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