5 things PR is NOT

What PR is NOT

PR is NOT advertising

PR is NOT advertising

When I say that I work in PR, there is usually a silence followed by a quizzical ‘What is that?’ Equipped with my CIPR definition, I explain that it’s about managing reputation and developing mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. With a ‘That’s nice’ à la Mrs Brown, I know that my inquisitor has grasped…very little.

Whilst I realise that defining something in the negative isn’t recommended, I have decided that the next time I’m asked what I do, I will explain what PR is NOT and see how I fare.

In preparation, here are 5 things I don’t do.

5 things PR is NOT

  1. Spin

PR is not about lying or distorting the truth. The very word ‘spin’ implies deceptive or manipulative tactics – that’s definitely NOT what PR is about.

  1. Advertising

Advertising is paid for coverage. It provides guaranteed space in a magazine/newspaper or programme and offers control over what is printed or said. With PR, you share information to raise awareness and build credibility. PR doesn’t say, ‘We are great, buy our products’; instead, it suggests ‘Let’s get to know each other and see what happens’.

  1. Quick fix

The key word in PR is relations! PR is not a last minute effort or an afterthought or a quick fix; it’s about building relationships over time.

  1. Flattery

PR is not about pandering to the ego. It is about delivering credible messages that are evidence-based, transparent and have integrity. Trust and mutual respect are essential in this relationship. If someone promises you the world – or guaranteed coverage – be wary.

  1. Being no.1

PR is not about winning awards, ranking on the top 5 in the industry or getting more coverage than your competitors. Swings and roundabouts, ebb and flow, peaks and troughs – ring any bells? What goes up must come down…at some point. The only organisations/individuals whose reputations last are those that are honest and have integrity. PR is about doing the right thing, not because it will win brownie points, but because it is the right thing to do.

So, I don’t lie, advertise, offer quick fixes, flatter or strive to be number 1 at all costs. I work in PR!


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