The ultimate goal of a business is simply to make a profit. Our society is driven by the desire for profit. However, as the world has evolved, our business strategies have also adapted. Consumers have been given the opportunity to voice their feedback towards brands, products, ideas, individuals, and corporations. It is no longer a one way channel towards the potential customer. A company can thrive on their reputation. To me, public relations is trying to achieve the goal of maintain a positive image in a community or to the public.
Bill Gates is known for being one of the richest men in the world, but he helps raise billions of dollars for charities. He isn’t a product or even a public relations worker. He is a celebrity and a human being, but his charity work really makes him look a lot better in the light of the public. That is a great example of how your image is shaped by what a celebrity does. The same goes with corporations. He didn’t pay for an advertisement to promote his image, he did so with his actions. In my opinion, this is great PR.
Earlier this year, Sony had a huge breakdown in their gaming division. After George Hotz basically unlocked the Playstation 3 for customization (with good intentions), their online infrastructure was infiltrated by hackers, which was extremely unfortunate for business. Millions of customers lost personal information (like credit card information) to random hacking groups. There was a huge window of opportunity to make the best of their situation. If their PR division had any sense at all, they would have acted swiftly to save their reputation. However, as rumors spread, Sony didn’t even come out with a statement until weeks later. They lost a lot of trust from their customers. They asked for search warrants to search the personal browsing history of anyone who visited Hotz’s blog. Hotz wasn’t simply telling people how to unlock their systems, but he was an activist for technological freedom. Sony started a war instead of trying to make the best of their unfortunate situation. That is a example of extremely bad PR. Their stocks have been falling ever since, and it just now shows you how the reputation of a company can be effected by PR, which in turn affects sales. That is why PR is important, and thats what it is to me.