Thursday, 11 February 2010
Tug-of-war...Public Relations should be given respect as a profession
I made a personal choice when I decided to pursue a master’s degree to study public relations over marketing, and although a vast majority don’t see the difference, I know the difference and every other person who is passionate about this field knows the difference.
I must say that even though I chose public relations over marketing, that does not mean that I don’t respect marketing as a separate profession, it simply means that I am more inclined to practice public relations.
However, of all the marketing professionals that I have met, only about two respect public relations as a profession in itself. They always seem quick to point out that it is “controversially” a tiny subset of marketing that really doesn’t deserve any real status.
Honestly, I am getting tired of hearing: “Is that just like marketing”, when I tell people what I am studying. And unfortunately, this is the general consensus on public relations.
Nevertheless, this has not prevented the growth and expansion of public relations practice: with thousands of established public relations agencies and practitioners existing in the UK alone.
But why is public relations seen in this way? Is the practice of public relations fully understood?
Does the public know how many of the stories in the newspaper are taken from well-written press releases issued from public relations officers? Do they know how many times their way of thinking has been influenced by the hard work of a public relations practitioner? It is an indefinable number, so let's follow a campaign that we all know.
Think about the concept of recycling and its recent history. Vast amounts of people now recycle and the overall importance of recycling or being eco-friendly is well-known, but how do you think those ideas were made reality? A well-prepared public relations campaign that stretched over a number of years!
Someone had an idea, and through good communications management, those ideas were filtered to the press, posters were made, flyers were distributed, press releases written, announcements were made... and the list goes on!
However, the general public is unaware of the behind-the scenes activity needed to distribute this information. They simply receive the message. All of that is PR!
There are so many public relations practitioners out there who genuinely get excited and are passionate about their work, and I have been privileged to come into contact with a few of them, and this has sparked not only an interest but an eagerness to fully immerse myself in the field.
I am personally excited about the field of public relations, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a challenging and exciting career choice.