I have been in public relations for almost three years now, and it has been a good run. Clients that usually respected a good idea, bosses that more often than not, gave me the freedom to follow my heart, teams that have usually been driven, dedicated, and my pillars. It’s been rewarding (SO rewarding), enriching, challenging, and awesome for most parts. I have worked in two brilliant consultancies and both of them have been good to me. Why then would I need to rant – right? Wrong. Because PR is also one of the most cliched professions in the world. Samantha Jones didn’t do much to kill those cliches and that’s one TV character I hate with a vengeance. Probably more than Ansh Virani (google him, don’t ask me).
I am pretty used to “outsiders” believing that this profession is about LV bags (Believe me it doesn’t pay that much and most of us have better, more unique tastes. We know better than to stick with clone-like collections that are LV bags). But my real issue is with people within the industry who are so hung on to the idea of the PR cliche of the 70s. Girls – wear make up. Boys – wear tie. Hello! The world changed when you weren’t looking. The whole idea of “PR girls” is revolting. And sexist, if I may add. PR is about influencing opinion. And you need a lot more grey cells to do that than just the presence of mind to steal a few business cards at the registration desk. The make up might get you some face time with an influencer (and I say MIGHT because I can’t comment on a situation I haven’t put myself in) but if you don’t how to sell a story and are relying on selling your soul instead, people WILL call your bluff. If they don’t, then I don’t know about you, but I won’t trust the influencer’s instincts enough to help me form an opinion about a client I like.
My only hope for PR is that one day we will start respecting our own profession enough to understand that there’s more to PR than press releases, stealing business cards in the name of media relations, gift of gab (if it means innuendos in the name of humour and inane conversations with random people who are either not interested or not your target audience), and make up. So much more. If we don’t consciously kill the old worldly notion of “PR girls” soon enough, we are setting ourselves up for disaster.
There is so much more I wanted to say about all the misconceptions that surround PR. Like party planning and event management. But I will leave that for another day. There is only so much negativity I can deal with in a post about a profession I have grown to love and protect like a child.