Trylon Communications  - Volume I Issue 2
       

PR at the Speed of Light

Everyone talks about how fast things move now.  Public relations professionals need to be more organized and able to handle crises in minutes, when before they may have had hours or even days.

We have gone from a time when reports were sent via telex and phone (the early sixties Cuban missile crisis is a good example) to real time reporting direct from the center of the action via satellite.  Think of how short the lead time was for the public relations people who were trying to handle the Enron mess.

In fact, we can be blindsided by information we didn't know existed!  How would you like to meet with a reporter only to find out that they knew more about what was happening than you did - through no fault of your own.

More than ever, a PR pro or even a spokesperson within the company needs to be kept fully informed of all developments and events.  Staying ahead of the media in a crisis situation is crucial to being able to bring the client's message home.

How quickly can you access important files?  When trouble starts brewing, how fast can you form a disaster team to assemble and disseminate information?  How quickly can you reach the media - and how well can you communicate with them?  

Using technology to increase efficiency can go a long way to help cope with a forming crisis.  E-mail, wireless, and instant messaging can provide instant contact with the important players.  Retrieving files electronically and disseminating the information via the Internet can save precious time and speed response.  Placing pertinent information on a website for interested parties to view can increase information distribution substantially.

The strongest strengths a public relations professional brings to the table will never be mitigated by technological advances.  Relationships with the media, analytical ability, and common sense can't be replaced by the latest gadget.  However, adapting to technology to speed response and increase efficiency is a must for any professional regardless of industry.  We now must conduct PR at the speed of light.