Building Electronic Relationships
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.
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;