I'm not certain who first came up with the concept of PR as the customer ombudsman, but it seems to me to be about the best idea for the future of PR I've heard. I got to thinking about it earlier today when I read Kami's Communications Overtones this morning. While she mentioned me, she attributed to Mike Davidson at Newsvines. I don't exactly see it there, so maybe Kami should get the credit.
In any case, I think it's a great idea for a new way to define PR in the Conversational Era. Instead of collaborating with marketing departments, let PR collaborate with customers, prospects, partners and even investors, then serve as their champions to the company.
A few months back Richard Edelman was struggling to redefine the meaning of the "PR" letters. That seemed to me to be a little like removing spots from a leopard. This is a better and bigger idea. This is about authentic relationships with a company's publics. This is an evolution of PR from a message shovelware tool to an interactive catalyst that brings companies closer together.