Do we understand who we’re talking to?

In a global world, we need to be able to communicate with people from different cultures.

In a global world, we need to be able to communicate with people from different cultures.

During my time in the field of PR, I’ve been lucky enough to have met people from many different places and backgrounds. I have colleagues from Greece, China, the US, Brazil, India, Spain, Norway, the UK… Not only do we have fun working together, but we’ve also had the opportunity to learn from each other, as we all come from different cultures and therefore think differently and work differently. Nevertheless, statistics show that our small version of the U.N. is an exception to the rule as most professionals in our field are, in the case of the UK, white British females.  For a profession that prides itself on being modern and open, this seems pretty close-minded. These studies show a lack of diversity in the field regarding gender, race and culture of which the implications are great: How does PR intend to effectively engage with people from different backgrounds if it doesn’t really understand who it’s talking to? Continue reading

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And now we have horseballs…

Ikea meatballs have also been found to contain traces of horse meat.

Ikea meatballs have also been found to contain traces of horse meat.

Bad news for all of us who are (were) Ikea meatball lovers. The Swedish company has had to withdraw this famous product from 21 European countries after officials in the Czech Republic found traces of horse DNA in a bag labelled as beef and pork. This is just the latest development in a series of scandals which have involved meat products sold by well-known brands such as Tesco, Findus, Birds Eye and Nestle. As consumers, we must ask ourselves whether we can trust the information on these products’ packaging. As PR practitioners we have to wonder… Were these companies too busy thinking about broader Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) tactics to worry about their supply chains? 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

I quit! How two words can prove the need for good PR.

Pope Benedict XVI gives attends an official ceremony while two cadinals whisper behind him.

Pope Benedict XVI gives attends an official ceremony while two cadinals whisper behind him.

Four days ago, Benedict XVI said the words no Pope has said in 700 years: “I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome”.  A simple sentence that has had a powerful effect on millions of people all over the world, including the media and the Vatican itself. The general reaction to the Pope’s resignation has been a mixture of shock and disbelief. Even those who are highest up within the Catholic Church admit that they were surprised by the news. Given the consequences that this action could have for the Vatican, we must ask ourselves how all of this plays out from a PR standpoint. Continue reading

Why all PR students should aspire to be geeks.

  

Steve Urkel from the TV show "Family Matters" is the ultimate geek and is probably an expert in social media.

Steve Urkel from the TV show “Family Matters” is the ultimate geek and is probably an expert in social media.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a geek as “an enthusiast or expert especially in a technological field or activity”.  Traditionally, this term would have been used to describe the likes of Steve Urkel or Sheldon Cooper, the scientific, computer wizes who got picked on incessantly at school and who none of us wanted to be. The thing is that they are the ones who become successful millionaires, owning companies like Facebook, Microsoft or Apple. What’s this to us cool PR people? We have the opportunity to be a little more like them… and we should take it! Here’s why.

It’s no secret that biggest, most revolutionary change that has happened in Public Relations in years has been brought on by social media. No matter where we look there are books and journal articles talking about the advantages offered by these platforms with respect to engaging with the target audience, content curation and measuring results, among many others. Nobody disputes the fact that the future of PR lies within the infinite possibilities that social media has to offer. Why then is New Media not a mandatory module in the MAPR programs currently offered in the UK? Why are they not turning us into social media geeks? Continue reading

PR “a la española”

Mariano Rajoy, President of Spain, "attends" a press conference after the scandal breaks out.

Mariano Rajoy, President of Spain, “attends” a press conference after the scandal breaks out.

Whenever anyone talks about the countries where the function of PR is most evolved, they generally mention the United States and the UK. Sometimes Australia… Germany… but never Spain. Any self-respecting Spaniard would be annoyed at this. We do after all have our pride! However, the events that have occurred there within the past few days should make any Spanish PR practitioner cringe; both politically and “PR-illy”. Continue reading

Are we there yet? Why we haven’t reached the boardroom… for now!

are we there yetFor many years we have defended our need to be heard in the boardroom, either by having a seat on the executive board or by having the possibility of reporting directly to the CEO, so that we can ensure that they take into account how their decisions will affect our corporate reputation and our stakeholder relations. We’ve travelled a long road to reach the C-Suite… Once again, we impatiently ask: Are we there yet?The answer is quite simply… no. Continue reading