In the span of a single day five communications and business executives voiced their opinions of PR that ranged from “Wow” to “Ugh” to “Ouch,” reminding me that PR’s perception continues to need help.
First came the communications agency executive who gave PR the credit for the firm winning a prestigious industry award. It was obvious that he understands the role that PR played in the winning integrated campaign and, as importantly, that PR brings a unique set of values to communications programs. Wow!
Shortly after that conversation, a manager described the shared definition of PR by rank and file members of the communications team as “they think the only things that PR people do are write press releases and make phone calls.” Ugh!
The day ended by reading comments by high profile executives in a recent issue of Fortune Magazine in answer to how they would keep their company’s reputations intact when their industry has been tainted by bad news.
Two of the executives slammed PR by saying “it’s a huge mistake to hire a PR firm and ask it restore your image” and also “…rather than offering stilted PR-speak…call it like it is.” Ouch!
Public relations, its role, tools, and results continues to evolve. With the growing use of social media strategies and tools integrating into traditional PR and multi-disclipline communications programs, it is as important as ever that PR professionals be informed, responsible and results-driven advocates for what only they can bring to the marketing communications arena.