Why are “lack of public relations” scandals and failures called PR problems?
Spoiler alert: Rant ahead.
This op-ed in USA Today on the latest Penn State woes prompted this rant, in part because of headlines calling the situation and Barron’s letter “PR blunder.” Wasn’t in the room when that letter was written, but IME ‘passionate’ defenses like that may get through legal and TPTB barely listen to PR.
Or here’s Wired on YACHT’s fake scandal – and many tweeters – referring to a shameless marketing publicity stunt as “PR.” Keep reading, you’ll see the (I’ve never heard of) band’s own publicity firm disavowed the move.
Somehow this type of business culture, management’s failure to hire or listen to communications professionals is a blunder – for PR. And SMH?!
Here’s me (if you scroll down, you’ll see the comments), fighting this fight with a Forbes contributor and how I argue almost all the so-called public relations blunders are caused by marketing or company culture or management. And that they evolved into reputation, branding – and therefore PR issues – only after they became public.
Not an Afterthought
Communications is how business runs. Period.
I’ll skip the rant about how PR is so much more than marketing, sales, leads; or an unread employee relations newsletter; or likes and clicks on social media. Many a PR is not publicity post out there, as there should be.
The problem is that professional business communicators like myself don’t get to make these decisions. Our brains are picked, we’re asked to work for free instead of the value of our work.
Buried under Marketing or Human Resources department heads, corporate communications and public relations professionals aren’t on the board, don’t have a seat at the table. Communications, reputation, relationships – these are thought of only after something goes wrong.
That’s not a PR problem, it’s an organizational one.