We now operate in a marketing environment in which the myth has grown that we can achieve in minutes what really takes years or even decades. The rise of social media has created the, false, perception that reputations can be built overnight, using no more than 140 characters and tiny URL. And I offer this criticism as a devout fan of social networking as part of a technical PR campaign.

We can now create a Google AdWords campaign in minutes, issue an e-mail newsletter in an afternoon or put a Web site online in a day. We now think that this is marketing.

But it’s only part of marketing. Having a strong social media outreach strategy, a well optimised Web site and an effective e-mail marketing strategy are all useful tactics, and all tactics that my agency offers. But they are all the equivalent of trade press advertising in the old marketing mix; they are about notifying your customers that you are there.

They don’t address the foundation of marketing, which is reputation. Without reputation a customer may well be aware of you, they may be able to find you easily on Google and you may be reaching into their inbox regularly. But if they don’t regard you as the right brand to deal with there is no value in any of this – unless you sell a commodity product only on price.

Ultimately, the only way to build reputation is through action and the intelligent communication of that action and of the values that underpin it. Is there a name for this function in the marketing mix? Yes, it’s called public relations. And it isn’t instant.

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