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Building Electronic Relationships

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The Internet has forever changed communication. Dissonant to the ears

of many public relations professionals, the principles that have guided

business dialogue may no longer work so well--usurped by one of the best

tools for communicating in this new economic age (Holtz, 1999). Toffler

(1991) foresaw this new economy using information as currency, which has

now prophetically manifested itself as the Internet.

When messages are sent through print or broadcast media, credibility is

accrued through a tangible brand, recognizable as a product of an

organization. However, much cyberspeak is not innately credible (Holtz,

1999). To ensure credibility, public relations professionals must practice

consistent advocacy, honesty, expertise, independence, loyalty, and fairness.

  • --

    PRSA Code of Ethics (October 2000).

This paper will explore how PR practitioners can pragmatically exploit

new communications technologies, while maximizing customer relationships.

Changing Relationships

A shift has occurred from an emphasis on discrete transactions and the

acquisition of new customers to relationships and the retention of valuable

customers. The relationship dyad of seller and customer has expanded to

include a myriad of partners. Understanding brand equity is strongly valued;

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