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New challenges for PR: Reputation attacks!

February 5, 2013

Is it fair to say that the war waged in the traditional economic sector has for the most part moved to an online battlefield?

According to Christian Harbulot (, the rules of the game changed over the past 20 years, with the democratization of the web and its emergence as a platform for free speech in virtually real time. If industrial espionage remains a relevant threat, companies more often fall victim to reputation attacks. In fact, looking to undermine someone’s reputation has more immediate effects and is less risky and less costly than traditional espionage, even when the legitimacy of the attacker cannot be established.

This creates a new deal for corporate communication and public relations. When under attack, companies are in an uncomfortable position where they have to justify themselves and react to negative communication. Since companies are out to sell something, it is very difficult for traditional PR specialists to dispel the doubts cast by an attack: the debate is skewed, which adversely affects the balance of power. What Harbulot advocates is for companies to enter the arena with better suited rhetorical weapons and to explore more indirect ways to communicate.

(Video in French)

Christian Harbulot, Directeur de l’Ecole de guerre économique by frenchweb

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