So which is it? Audiences, publics, stakeholders… or tribes?

We're no longer talking to passive audiences.

We’re no longer talking to passive audiences.

Whether you are studying PR or work in the field you know that we talk about audiences, publics and stakeholders depending on whether we’re dealing with corporate or consumer PR, on what our companies calls them or on what we think sounds better at any given time. However, even though we tend to use these words interchangeably, this isn’t a “you say potato I say potato” situation. In truth, each one of these words means something slightly different and has different connotations. What’s the one thing they have in common? To some extent, they all focus on organizations and not just on the people they refer to which is why to complicate things even more, some experts are beginning to talk about tribes. Confusing, isn’t it? Not really. Each term is actually quite easy to define: Continue reading

This is war!

WWII Propaganda poster.

WWII Propaganda poster.

OK, that’s it. Portraying PR people as evil spin doctors full of cruel intentions is getting really old. Last week, I attended the latest in a series of debates about PR, this one titled “Modern wars are spun and not won. What warring parties say is more important than what they do”.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a great debate (there was even some pen-throwing involved!), but the fact that the profession is still seen by many as being twisted and murky is infuriating. It would be great if PR practitioners were all-powerful influencers, but in most cases that’s just not so. Continue reading

Debate about ethical PR. Leave your boxing gloves at home, please!

Is there such a thing as ethical PR?

Is there such a thing as ethical PR?

I recently took part in a debate titled “The Only way to practice ethical PR is to work for the not for profit sector. Everything else is just corporate, political or consumer propaganda”. No doubt about it: this is quite a radical statement. As luck would have it, two colleagues and I wound up defending it…reluctantly, I might add. No self-respecting PR practitioner would agree with such a thing. Or would they?

Please note that we started off by having a show of hands which quickly showed none of the attendees were on our side and that we actually managed to come up with some pretty convincing arguments. Would we manage to convince anyone to support us?  Continue reading

Banks need a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Future. ASAP.

Mr. Potter, The banker from "It's a wonderful life".

Mr. Potter, the banker from “It’s a wonderful life” (1946).

When I picture the CEO of a bank, I can’t help but come up with an image like the one featured in this post. An arrogant, selfish, ruthless older gentleman who is a mix between the mean old men who tormented Mr. Banks in “Mary Poppins” and Pre-Christmas-Ghosts-Scrooge. I know this idea is pretty far from the truth, but I’m not sure that everybody else does. Continue reading