I’ll Tell You What’s Bloody Wrong With PR…

PR is not dyingLast week, I was asked the rather pointed question: “So Paul, what do you think is wrong with PR?” The context and inference was that the PR industry is on its knees, desperately clinging on to the last vestiges of respectability, profit and hope. Then I read a post on PR Daily (which had previously been covered on PR Breakfast Club) which goes along the lines of ‘PR deserves respect, rubbish definition, alternative definition, heart of PR, yada, yada…’

The ‘PR is dying’ meme has been circulating around and around to the point of tedium. And therein lies the problem. So let’s get it straight. Once and for all. Right here, right now. PR is NOT dying. Some PR agencies are dying. Some PR consultants are dying (not literally, I hope). But PR as an industry is not dying.

The issue we, as an industry, have is that we’re absolutely awful at PRing ourselves. Shockingly bad. We’re like the builder who lives in a ruin of a house, or the chef who eats microwave meals every night. PRs themselves are to blame for the industry’s poor reputation. We fight, we bicker, we try to redefine ourselves to make ourselves seem relevant when we should simply be getting on and doing the job at hand. Step away from it and look from the outside and it’s like a schoolyard.

The marketing industry is laughing at us as we implode. And I don’t blame them. For every progressive PR consultancy that is actively developing an in-house SEO offering and establishing beneficial partnerships with digital experts, there are ten scrabbling around in the mire of media relations and talking, talking, talking. Is the marketing industry superior to us? No. But what they’re not doing is perpetuating any myths about how awful they are. They’re just doing the job while we make a laughing stock of ourselves.

THAT is what’s wrong with PR. It’s us! We’ve started to believe and to propagate the hype. So how about, right now, we agree, as one, to stop talking about whether or not we have a future and start proving our worth?

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  • http://www.thinkingcomms.co.uk/ Emily Leary

    This. This type of rant right here, Paul, is why I am always saying how awesome you are 😀

    • http://futurecomms1.wordpress.com Paul Sutton

      Thanks Em * blush *

  • http://twitter.com/PheeYoung Phee Young (@PheeYoung)

    Completely agree with this. Excellent post.

    • http://futurecomms1.wordpress.com Paul Sutton

      Thank you Phee :)

  • http://normanmonkey.wordpress.com normanmonkey

    If I’m doing a fashion campaign aimed at older women and my Mum phones me up every day last week saying she keeps seeing the news pictures and features in the nationals, so have all her friends and the product has sold out as a result then PR is alive and well to me.

    • http://futurecomms1.wordpress.com Paul Sutton

      There’s only one question then: are you doing a fashion campaign aimed at older women? And how do dogs fit into this? Or that is that a faux pas?

  • http://lindacorby.co.uk Linda

    Good interesting post,lol, and I was just browsing to see if I could find a good PR agents who really knew their stuff :-)

    • http://futurecomms1.wordpress.com Paul Sutton

      Thanks Linda. There are some of us out there… :)

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  • http://thebigcompromise.wordpress.com theBIGcompromise

    I agree that PR is definitely NOT a dying industry, in fact, PR is doing more and more to prove its value both in terms of measurement, evaluation and a higher standard required from practitioners. As a third year PR student I am forever being told about the need for PR to prove its value and establish it as a real profession. What I am forever being made aware of is that there is a huge population that does not know what the term PR means, you would be surprised at how many times It gets confused with HR, customer service and even handing out flyers! Forgive me for the rant but it is slightly heartbreaking that people think I am paying thousands to learn how to hand out flyers. My BIG QUESTIONS for you are, do you think PR can be defined? Are practitioners becoming too obsessed with defining it? Would the profession be viewed more positively if it had a strong, recognisable definition?

    Amy Lee.

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