The Reputation of Public Relations Today
The Truth About the Reputation of the PR Industry
It is ironic that the PR profession, a profession responsible for brand reputation of others has somewhat a notorious reputation in the eyes of the public.
Unfortunately, the unethical practices by well-known professionals and organizations have engendered many misconceptions.
Sadly, this has cast a shadow over the industry as a whole.
Recently, one of the most prominent PR agencies in the world, Bell Pottinger, suffered the consequences of engaging in unethical practices.
The agency’s reputation was left in shambles after allegedly stirring up racial tensions in South Africa.
Bell Pottinger ran an anti-monopoly capital social media campaign on behalf of their client, Oakbay.
Not surprisingly, PRCA later ruled that this action stirred up hatred in a country with a history of racial violence.
It was indeed an unscrupulous and despicable thing to do. As a result, their downfall has dominated headlines for months.
Unfortunately, an event like this jeopardizes and taints the image as well as the reputation of the industry.
However, it is important to understand that Bell Pottinger and their actions do not represent the entire industry.
A walk in the park?
Do not be deceived by what is portrayed in Hollywood!
Despite many misconceptions to the contrary, PR is no ‘fairy tale’ or ‘walk in the park’ either. Compared to what is being depicted in popular TV shows, we are not sitting around in pink offices, planning fabulous events like Samantha Jones does in Sex in the City.
On the contrary, Public Relations is a job for those who can balance conflict and competition for the good of an organization and ultimately, in the best interests of the public.
Personally, I have spent most of my PR career advising and managing the reputation of a wide range of brands in different fields from tech to finance – not planning parties.
The Role of PR in Our World Today
- Its primary concern is to build relationships
- Ensure organization’s success
- Enhance competitive advantage
- Handle issues effectively without disregarding ethical standards
Certainly, amid all the challenges and conflicts, there will always be a very important place for PR professionals in our world today.