Michael Higham’s article for Behind the Spin got me thinking: what do I think PR is? And is it viewed differently by everyone else?
My days of thinking that being in PR was like Eddy from Absolutely Fabulous are long gone…. but secretly I still long for some of this.
Swishing around from one party to the next, working the room and talking to famous people who all want you to represent them. The uniform would be a pencil skirt and shirt, hair up in a chignon and a pair of glasses perched on my nose.
Sadly this isn’t true. Parts of my dream may overlap with the reality as I do get to speak to interesting people and I do get to attend parties and functions – but the amount of work that goes into it wasn’t portrayed in the programme.
It always amazes me how every news story, person in the public eye or business shows the potential for PR to play a positive role. Only this week Max Clifford has made a comment on what he thinks that Sarah Ferguson should do after her latest ‘Andrew Scandal’.
Kerry Katona has turned her life around – ditched the old boyfriend, lost weight, started a new career and moved house – due to the use of a good ‘manager’. My money is that her new manager has had some PR training. The fact that she was nearly bankrupt and had admitted to taking cocaine has now been forgotten as stories of her dramatic weight loss, make over and new mansion fill the papers.
So what is PR?
Andy Green, author, partner in Green PR and creativity entrepreneur states: “PR is about getting you the word of mouth you deserve.” I agree with this, especially the words ‘you deserve’.
Many entrepreneurs work for years on a project and never seem to get anywhere. If PR can equip them with tools to get their message out there and ‘show off’ their work then it can only be positive.
Jane Crofts, a PR lecturer at the University of Lincoln with extensive experience within the PR industry, thinks that: ‘PR does what it says on the tin – it builds relationships with people to make things happen, prevent problems and create positive interest. It’s about telling stories and creating ‘organisational narrative’ to use some jargon and it’s about leadership at all levels, not sitting back and waiting for the inevitable stasis.’
In time like these when the country is emerging from a deep recession it is easy for businesses to sit and let other factors take over. PR enables companies to get out there and do something for themselves.
PR to me – well it is my life. This sounds a bit sad admittedly but I would bet that most people in the industry never switch off from work. I live and breathe PR and I certainly wouldn’t have it any other way.
Mutually beneficial relationships
Successful PR for me is like giving out rose tinted glasses to the public and equipping them with positive information before they look at your product or the person you represent. There is also the task of limiting the amount of bad information that is revealed. Whilst carrying out these tasks you make contact with a lot of people, these relationships have to be kept mutually beneficial or at least seem that way.
So when someone asks me in an interview, ‘what is PR?’, I think I will be able to answer…
Carly Smith is a student at the University of Lincoln currently working at Shooting Star PR on its ‘Rising Stars’ placement scheme