Why is public relations such a professionally and personally rewarding business discipline to work in? Well, it is a civilised profession that helps enhance the civility of society, for one. This post features the second half of my top ten reasons for extolling public relations. My top five were in a previous post.
Inherent within strategic public relations is challenging the status quo. That might be a status quo as characterised by an organisation or its stakeholders.
We are seeking change.
Change is hard for people and, clearly, for organisations. It takes years for a mode of thinking/operating/behaving to materialise. To change this is like turning the Titanic.
Change requires those who are instigating it and representing it to stand up in a considerably large way. That takes fortitude, it takes vision and it takes leadership.
Without exhibiting leadership, you will never be the best possible public relations professional you can be.
PR is a people profession. In 15 odd years it is true, I have come across a few dickheads and pains. It is a minority group, however. In the main, these people don’t get ahead or last long because people simply don’t want to work with them – and that goes for peers as much as it does clients.
We are under the ‘people spotlight’ all the time. It is expected of us to be emotionally functional (as opposed to dysfunctional) human beings. Add to this equation that the most effective and persuasive form of communication is face-to-face (i.e. people interacting in real life as opposed to virtual life).
If PR pros can’t get this form of interaction and communication pretty spot on again and again (and most of the time we won’t if we aren’t being nice, a part of which is being considerate to others) then what hope do those who we counsel have?
Public relations, is, at the end of the day, a civilised profession in which to work. And one of its roles is, inherently, to enhance the civility of all those it counsels and works with.
Upshot? Excellent PR by excellent PR people helps create a more civilised society.
Power of the people
PR pros get to interact with a wider range of people than many other professions do. This is because we:
- utilise a range of service providers and interact with different sorts of PR and marketing pros who specialise in different tactical areas, such as events and writing and advertising
- interact with those in all areas of an organisation: from the C-suite to the mechanics and nightclub security (i.e. door bitches); from engineers to accountants.
In fact, I would think every single profession (I am unaware of anyone who does PR for brothels but there must be one or two somewhere…) utilises public relations at one point or another.
Collaboration and teams
This works two ways:
- On a strategic level, public relations encourages various parties (e.g. an organisation and its stakeholders) to collaborate to invent/devise/formulate a win-win outcome for these parties. This will generally mean negotiation (always a challenging and interesting dimension of public relations) and it will probably mean compromise
- On a more day-to-day level, we are all operating in some sort of team environment where we collaborate with colleagues, associates or clients. Even sole practitioners (i.e. freelancers) collaborate with clients and, arguably, stakeholders such as journalists.
For me, this is an enjoyable way to work as it helps me learn, it invariably challenges my perspectives and, ultimately, it leads to a better quality communication/relationship management outcome than would otherwise have been the case.
Okay, now this is a little different as I am picking on a specific public relations tactic. The reason for this is that, more than any other single tactic, I think social media has the potential to help achieve the holy grail of two-way symmetrical communication.
And two-way symmetrical communication is the primary cause of my passion for public relations. I am well aware that I cannot achieve it in every communication program I design and/or which I am involved, but it provides a deeply satisfying model for me to apply and/or aspire to applying: professionally, personally, socially – a tripartite hybrid which suffuses and characterises my personality, in fact.
Social media, as has been well documented, is about:
- giving a ‘voice’ to, in many cases, those who did not have a voice before its advent
- clarifying, and helping form, communities of interest, location and power
- organisations and their stakeholders learning from each other
- sharing ‘ownership’ of organisations/brands
- creating/enhancing relationships
- providing a bedrock from which change in organisations and their stakeholders can occur and is actually expected to occur.
It is helping create a new society, or at the very least the paradigm for a new society. One where my dreams of greater social equity, greater organisational transparency and sincerity…and greater fulfilment for all of us will occur.
So these are five of my top ten reasons for being an acolyte of public relations. Tell me yours. Or argue with me. Am I dreaming here? Anything I can learn I am grateful for.