Public Relations, Branding and Authenticity: Brand Communications in the Digital Age explores the role of PR and branding in society by considering the notion of authentic communications within the context of an emerging digital media environment.

This qualitative analysis explores the challenge of developing authentic brand narratives in the digital age, whilst questioning the problematic nature of authenticity itself. Case studies of public relations activity of successful brands, and those in crisis, are supplemented by interviews with senior public relations and branding practitioners. The book lays out three specific arguments. Firstly, a repositioning of the relationship between public relations and brand practice is explored. It is argued that public relations practitioners are well placed to facilitate brands in the digital age, because of the inherent acceptance of the value of relationship building, adaptation and boundary spanning embedded in PR practice and best practice theory. Secondly, the book introduces a new concept of riparian brands. Such brands are based on solid core values, but have an ability to atune, adjust and naturalise to the prevailing social, cultural and economic environment. Thirdly, the book presents an ontology of the riparian brand in the form of an authentic brand wheel and 15 real-time interaction success factors.

Aimed at both academics and practitioners interested in the theoretical development of PR and its emerging relationship with branding, it will also be of interest to scholars of corporate communications, corporate reputation and branding.

chapter 1|15 pages


Public relations, branding and authenticity

chapter 2|19 pages

Public relations history re-imagined

Aligning corporate and activist perspectives

chapter 3|11 pages

The digital public relations turn

Understanding how digital media is changing public relations practice

chapter 4|11 pages

Communicating the projective organisation

Public relations and digital organisational forms

chapter 5|16 pages

The riparian brand

Exploring polyphonic corporate brand identity and public relations

chapter 6|16 pages

Justification and corporate social responsibility

Exploring organisational legitimisation processes

chapter 7|18 pages

Public relations for digital media brands

Authentic brand narratives in a digital age

chapter 8|14 pages

Crisis management in the digital age

Harnessing the reputational influence of social media

chapter 9|9 pages

Public relations industry perceptions

The impact of digital media on reputation management practices

chapter 10|14 pages

The authentic brand wheel

An ontology of the riparian brand and authentic public relations

chapter 11|14 pages

The authenticity managers

Post-modern public relations practice in the digital age