Thursday, November 26, 2015

The biggest irony of all – Public Relations has a perception problem, and rightly so

PR. The two alphabets that summon a host of negative connotations ever since Ed Bernays made Public Relations synonymous with propaganda. Bernays’ (Sigmund Freud's nephew. Ha.) brand of PR was effective. It was measured and controlled. Companies saw tremendous value in what he brought to the table. This brand of PR is now redundant. Anybody who thinks they can control information or subvert truth is living in a shell. PR has evolved from cold war propaganda into the art of storytelling. We all parrot the line, but in essence, practitioners and companies don’t practice what they preach. 
Here are some thoughts on the current state of PR -
What PR is today:
  •  PR is ‘assuring coverage’ in the mass media
  • PR is incessantly calling journalists and asking them to write stories about your clients
  • PR is jargon and fluffy words that only technical people understand
  • PR is sending reports on competition without any relevance or analysis of how it affects business
  • PR is ‘spin’ as companies love to think and hire agencies to do
  • PR is boring reports, processes and endless PPTs
What PR should be:
  • PR is about unearthing hidden stories companies don’t know how to narrate
  • PR is about putting someone’s thoughts on paper – it’s about writing, editing and crafting quality content
  • PR is about aligning a company’s communication to ensure all employees understand the objective/goals
  • PR is about building awareness of a company by removing the clutter and explaining what it does
  • PR helps in differentiating between what makes a good story and what is marketing fluff

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