Putting “relations” back in PR- Why networking is crucial if you want to succeed.

Put on your best smile and mingle.

Put on your best smile and network!

Even though Mother Nature doesn’t seem to have realized it yet, spring is finally here. Though we may not be able to count on the sun shining for another few weeks, there’s one thing that always happens this time of year no matter what the weather: the days are a little bit longer and we tend to spend more time out of our homes than we did during the long, long winter. During the week you may be tempted to take a walk after you get out of work, to go shopping or to get together with a friend. These are all great ideas but… have you considered doing some networking instead? Continue reading

Royal Pains

TheSpanish Royal Family (2013)

TheSpanish Royal Family (2013).

As PR practitioners, we like to think of ourselves as highly evolved, open-minded people who always listen to our audiences and respond to their feedback to make sure that they’re kept happy.  In other words, we think we practice what Grunig calls two-way symmetrical public relations. But in truth, there are still many current examples that prove that the public information model – the one that just tries to push information to the media, not responding to any kind of feedback from the public- is still used on a regular basis.

All you have to do in order to appreciate this is pick up a copy of Hello! Magazine and read up on what’s happening with our European royals, in particular with the Spanish monarchy. In case you haven’t been keeping up with some of their latest news, let me bring you up to speed on how they’re doing. Continue reading

Behold: the great and powerful lobbyist!

"The Great and Powerful Oz" (2013) shows what a great PR Oz might have been.

“Oz, The Great and Powerful” (2013) shows what a great PR Oz might have been.

The other day I went to the cinema and saw “Oz, The Great and Powerful” which, by the way, I highly recommend.  It tells the story of how an average small town magician becomes the mysterious, slightly frightening Wizard of Oz who is feared and admired at the same time.

It occurred to me while watching the movie that Oz would have been a great lobbyist. He works behind closed doors; he uses obscure tricks to get his way; and influences people to do his bidding. The aura of mystery that surrounds him is very much like that which envelopes lobbyists, who are perceived to be a kind of sinister magicians themselves, strategically and invisibly influencing the powers that be and ultimately society as a whole. What is really frightening is that they walk and live among us… and many times we don’t even know who they are. 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

PR as the new Jedi warrior

Yoda is portrayed as a powerful Jedi Master in the Star Wars movies.

Yoda is portrayed as a powerful Jedi Master in the Star Wars movies.

No, Gruning hasn’t come up with a theory that argues the use of lightsabers for the improvement of the two-way symmetrical model. Nor are practitioners expected to speak a la Yoda to get the attention of the media. However, there is a current of thought that is taking root in PR which is based on behavioural economics theory. In Jedi terms, the idea is to use our wisdom to bend the wills of our publics and get them to behave in certain ways. Spooky, huh? 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

Could social media be the end of the “PR Girl”?

Women's extended use of social media might help to close the PR gender gap.

Women’s extended use of social media might help to close the PR gender gap.

While doing some research for a paper I’m writing (it seems like I do a lot of both lately) I came across an interesting article that brings together the ideas of gender and social media. The authors, Piet Verhoeven and Noelle Aarts, put forth an interesting idea: social media might help solve the issue of the gender gap in PR! Finally, something more or less tangible that we, men and women, can understand and relate to. Whether you’re a he or a she, read on for some insights that could make or break your career. Continue reading