Some people love bashing PR people or the profession itself. But if you go deeper into their understanding of the public relations profession, it becomes apparent their own limited understanding is more the problem rather than the PR. I have noticed as a result of this misunderstanding; many PR professionals are not aware of the value of what they do. So here are the top five reasons I am proud of being a PR professional.
Clients love me
No, not because I am cute, not because my team looks dapper, but because we truly put on the table an incredible value proposition for the client. We work hard on a long-term basis, creating perceptions through interventions that are genuine and speak to the strengths of the brands we represent, and we don't just give strategies; we become a part of the broader team of the client and execute for them. No, we do not "spin" things, we do not create false starts and we do not exaggerate beyond what our clients really are. Instead, we counsel our clients on what it means to be an industry leader, what are the best practices they could imbibe, and we find a way to present those to stakeholders and influencers in the marketplace. It is easy to create an advertisement,
I can single-handedly make a well-targeted creative (or a music jingle with a fully laid out multi-track soundtrack personally if you want), but try making a credible statement when you are not the author and have no control over the final product or piece that is published! Now that's where a lifetime of work is involved.
Oh, of course, don't forget, that for a large sum of about Rs. 3,50,000 one could buy only a one-page advertisement in a leading national magazine (which most readers would just flip over and not even read) but hire a good PR agency for Rs. 1,50,000 and you could receive almost 5 great articles in a month, with third-party validation. Now think about it, it's one third the cost with 5 times the impact and with third-party validation. Now you know why clients love me.
I love the convergence of media and technology.
The people who are in the best position to take advantage of the convergence of technology and media are PR professionals (if they believe in themselves that is). There are very few who can grasp and execute traditional PR, but it is relatively easier to understand and grasp and offer social media and digital (no it's not rocket science). This makes PR professionals who have taken the time to understand and integrate modern technology tools into their perception work, very valuable for clients - since they can easily offer both aspects (traditional PR, social media and digital) to the client from a single window. Now, look at the other side. Try asking a social media professional to get you a feature piece in a leading national daily! More often than not you will get a blank, unknown and bewildered expression (you know what I mean).
Media Loves Me
Yes, believe it or not, they do. And not just me, but every good, efficient and courteous PR professional. Once a journalist understands that you are there to genuinely add value to them, are courteous and helpful and care about their work, their readers, have done your homework and understand what they write about; there is no real reason for them not to love you.
Of course, both parties have to be worthy of each other's respect. And I say both, since if there are PR professionals who are pests; oh, the same applies to several journalists too. This is, of course, true in many industries and not just PR and journalism.
So being human and understanding human nature is the key. PR professionals should relate with journalists just as one would deal with any other human. Some journalists have blocks and predefined attitudes and those slowly breakdown when they realize that you too are a dynamic, living breathing human entity (sometimes an even better writer than the journalist him/herself -:)).
PR is a Spiritual Path
When you have no control over the final outcome of something, but are still tasked to produce that; when you meet people at social occasions or at family functions and they have no idea of what PR means (Advertising? Oh, where is your name in that article? I cannot see your photo!); when you constantly are tasked to keep your needs aside and prioritise client and media needs and goals; when instead of spending time pushing yourself as a famous entity you strategize and spend hours on how to build the desired perception for someone else instead - you start learning powerful spiritual lessons.
Nothing Beats The High of Celebrating Another's Success
PR is the only profession where we celebrate someone else's success wholeheartedly and with full blessings. Does such a profession exist on planet earth in any other industry? In PR when our client gets covered, we are overjoyed, hearts are pumping and there is genuine happiness. In seeing someone succeed, being written about and creating a positive impact, we celebrate. Could there be a better creator of character than that? Don't believe me, spend some quiet moments with a PR professional over a coffee. You will see his or her subconscious is geared to find your strengths and see how to magnify them. Now tell me who on earth in today's materialistic or so-called selfish world does that for you?
So, learn to appreciate the PR professional in your life, they are looking out for your success, they are communicating your strengths and your goals; this is a rare tribe and one to be appreciated, nurtured and grown with care.
Long live the PR Profession.
Dennis Taraporewala is the managing director of Criesse Communications Private Limited, a PR, social media and marketing consultancy.