As the (digital) clock on my monitor clicks down on another year and another decade, here are some thoughts on public relations and observations on the world around me.
PR’s Goal for 2010 and Beyond. Every man and woman who works in our profession should make a conscious effort to deliver the message that public relations is a modern practice built upon strategic, measurable communications. It’s not marketing, it’s not “spin” and it’s not purely publicity. It is based on truth, accuracy and full disclosure, and its results should have some redeeming factors to people, animals and/or plants. Those who think otherwise are practicing something else.
I applaud the Public Relations Society of America for launching The Business Case for Public Relations. Take time to become familiar with this campaign. And, for the record, I am a member of PRSA.
We’re Not Flacks, Spin Doctors or Propogandists. Or simply publicists for that matter. With all due respect to our friends and colleagues in the media, what’s so difficult about identifying a public relations professional as a public relations professional? Journalists strive for accuracy, yet they sometimes put forth inaccurate definitions of those of us in this industry.
This is Not Your Father’s PR Industry Anymore. Perhaps I’m showing my age through this reference to a pretty good automotive campaign for a brand no longer on the road — Oldsmobile. But beneath it all, public relations is about communicating. And the way we communicated a decade ago — heck, even 365 days ago — has changed dramatically and will change as new technology emerges and topples the status quo. Those of us who will thrive will embrace new ways of communicating, but without abandoning such fundamentals as adhering to ethical standards, accuracy, open disclosure and free exchange of ideas.
Hey, We’re Not Miracle Workers. When big, scandalous news stories break — like Tiger Woods reported and purported dalliances off the golf course — there are the occasional references to “bad PR.” Yes, that’s true: The public perception of the subject usually takes a whallop. But scandalous behavior usually is not written into a public relations plan, at least none that I’ve researched, written and presented to a client. Let’s be clear on what PR can do, and what it can’t do. PR can’t stop people from doing dumb things.
They Like Me! They Really Like Me! Okay. Enough with the references to popular culture (this one from an Oscar-winning film star; you tell me who it was). Since entering the consulting arena, I’ve found that there is a significant market for my services. I’ve taken on projects that range from copywriting and research to providing strategic direction and counsel, the stuff I really want to do. This leads me to proclaim that there is and always will be a market and demand for PR professionals who can deliver good work on time and within budget.
I Hope Tomorrow You’ll Find Better Things*. Wishing all who read this blog a safe and prosperous 2010. I thank you for providing substance to my thoughts and observations. My goal for 2010 remains to secure a new full-time position where I can apply my skills, learn and advance. Until then, I will continue to seek opportunities through project work, volunteer to make things around me better and write this blog.
*A line from “Better Things,” written by Ray Davies and performed by one of my favorite bands of all time, The Kinks.