All these things have affected our industry so dramatically that PR experts must be excellently trained and prepared for all kinds of contingencies.

Nowadays, some 60–70 percent of our clients turn to us as PR consultants—and it seems to be exactly the same everywhere in the world—for two main reasons: crisis management and reputation management.

The two often overlap. Not always, though. Sometimes an organization has no reputation whatsoever but strives to become popular and established. Today, that is the easiest thing to do—you create your social media profiles, hire professionals, they start writing about you or on your behalf and work on professionally engaging with the organization’s target audience.

PR experts need to be brilliantly trained and prepared. That’s not just good sense—there are very concrete and powerful reasons for that.

First, a mere ten years ago, we used to have plenty of time on our hands to solve a crisis. Usually, we used to enjoy almost an entire day to do that.

You’d get up in the morning, grab the newspaper, and see that someone had written something against a client of yours.

You would give your client a call and say, “Well, here is a bad article about you.” They would reply, “Come to my office so we can figure out how to handle it.”

Then you would go and have lunch with the client. In the afternoon, you would issue a press release. At 5 or 6 p.m., you would meet with reporters to tell them that what had been written was not true, and so on.

We used to have between ten and twelve hours to solve a crisis.

Now we don’t even have ten minutes!

The moment a client of ours suffers a blow somewhere, we have to respond immediately. We do that every single day in our office by monitoring social networks, even at 5 a.m. If any of our clients have been affected in any way, we’ve got to react. If the client has done wrong, we have to apologize on their behalf, quite naturally. If the client has been wronged, we have to disprove whatever false allegations or perceptions there might be about them.

This requires an entirely different mindset, training, and level of preparedness.

It requires an understanding that there is no difference between PR and social media anymore. From the point of view of a top-notch PR expert, they have become one and the same thing.

Many people come to our office and say, “I don’t want social media. What I want from you is traditional PR!”

“What do you understand by traditional PR?” we ask.

“Well, more traditional, you know, classical PR!”

You can guess our response.

“There is no such thing anymore, it’s all social media now!”


Excerpt from Maxim Behar's New book The Global PR Revolution, published by Allworth Press and distributed by Simon & Schuster.

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