|July 8, 2009|
|Shrug It Off, PR Folks|
|By Greg Hazley|
|Poor PR folks - always getting pushed around in the press. If it's not a local paper criticizing an "unnecessary" city contract with a PR firm, it's the New York Times doing a drive-by on the entire industry.|
Remember the Times, Ketchum and Armstrong Williams a few years ago? It was the end of everything -- video PR would shrivel, clients would flee the Omnicom-owned agency and the PR business would flounder in the wake of the propaganda scandal.
That never happened. Ketchum seems to be doing just fine, Armstrong Williams has a bustling PR business these days, and, well, the Times is the one limping of late.
I've spent the last few days listening and reading to reactions to the Times' Silicon Valley piece over the weekend and I can't help but think that it's not worth your time.
Richard Edelman railed against the story's potential to undermine the industry's credibility in the boardroom. "When I came into this business 32 years ago, my worst nightmare was to be presented as an empty-headed flack touting products without understanding, paid to drink with reporters in order to generate hits in the press," he writes.
That's a dollar reaction to a five-cent crime. Just like all money-managers aren't Bernie Madoff, all PR people aren't schmoozing, telemarketing-bunny spammers who spend all day on Facebook. The marketers and executives who know the reality of PR (and how it's changing) are the ones that matter, and they likely aren't influenced by an attempt at a trend piece that got nowhere near the heart of the evolving PR industry.
As Ogilvy's Rachel Polish noted, the view of PR as a "smile and dial" industry is simply outdated. It's not worth your time.
Brian Solis, who was quoted in the piece, wrote that the article was just a snapshot of his conversation with the reporter, but his observation about the view of the industry is at the heart of the issue here: "[PR] is at the very least, misunderstood, under estimated, misused, and most importantly, under appreciated."
Yes, PR is a favorite punching bag in the media, but does it matter?
(Image via photobucket)
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