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Building Electronic Relationships

3

Introduction

Many a successful business has made a fervent leap to augment its

brick-and-mortar presence with an electronic one by hastily positioning itself

on the World Wide Web. Other proprietors have been more cautious, and

remarkably, some concerns exist solely in cyberspace. Public relations (PR)

practitioners operate within all three scenarios.

Just as with conventional PR, any online effort still finds requisite the

key factors of trust and credibility. Business exploits, including public

relations, that are weak in some respect often perish—witness the recent

thinning of the dot com herd. Similar to a biological system, the organization

most fit to its environment survives. Thus, it often benefits an entity to

maintain redundant systems with one complementing, if not overlapping the

other.

The near instantaneous world of the Internet means that messages can

be delivered to publics at lightning speed, but the corporate poison of

misinformation travels equally quickly. The ability to harm credibility in a

short period has increased exponentially. Therefore, assessing all potential

eventualities (SWOT analysis) is essential before any expectation of customer

confidence can be ascertained.

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