What’s Happened to PR? No More Unicorns and Rainbows

This post will likely anger a few people, and for that I am prepared. After all, this is a community I am devoted to, regardless of whether or not I agree with the practices I’ve been seeing lately.

But rather than continue with a laundry list of grievances myself and presumably countless other prospective job candidates, partners and customers have experienced or observed in traditional PR and marketing, I’ll just keep it short and sweet:

What’s happened to PR?

To speak quite plainly, it sucks.

Whatever happened to the art of professional courtesy or follow-up? Of gracing a job candidate or prospective partner, client with the decency of a simple yes, or no?

But nothing? I don’t care if you’re Edelman or an obscure firm out in Alaska, a newfangled response (positive or negative) is still better than leaving people hanging.

That’s just impolite.

More importantly, from a branding perspective, why give people reason to question or speculate? As Dan Zarrella discussed in yesterday’s Guinness-World record setting webinar The Science of Social Media:

“Don’t let information voids spread around your brand” (especially in a time of crises, but I’d argue anytime) … “Find out what they want to know and give them that info.”

None of these sentiments should be new to practitioners, nor anyone with proper business acumen.

Allow me the presumption of speaking for purportedly naive, overly-zealous job seekers, students and workers my age:

We’d just appreciate the courtesy of a response, especially when we’ve taken the time to write a cover-letter, send resumes and consult with those in our network about matching our skills to your position.

Perhaps we weren’t the right fit (clearly, since you promised to get back and never did). Perhaps we wonder: if this is the way a company treats people who are not even inside its doors or on its payroll, how is it treating those that are?

Where is the accountability that everyone whines about nowadays? Perhaps Gen XY’s passion is impatient, entitled, overbearing, yada yada — but at least we still dare to show it.

It’s about heart, and we’ve got a lot of it.

Where’s yours? If you’re waiting for us to stop, to relent, you’ve only added insult to injury by underestimating our resolve. In business and in life, what you don’t say often resonates more than what you do. (Classic omission paradox).

We will continue to show initiative and the nerve to call out the injustice of impotent and cynical leadership, regardless of where it’s taking place (and especially when it’s among our own).

Until there is change, people will continue to suffer. That does not exclude those who work hard. It does not exclude those who have earned degrees, internships, have families, mortgages, student debt…list goes on.

I’m not saying there aren’t brilliant PR and marketing firms out there. In fact, many tech-savvy firms are integrating, acquiring and growing exponentially. These firms know how to wow and delight their people, from the inside out.

These firms are the ones willing to lead by example, and advise others who are still attempting to do new things with outdated and irrelevant strategies, techniques and approaches.

Here’s hoping PR folks will learn now — before it’s too late.

What really grinds your gears about the state of PR and business (or political) leadership today? Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

RELATED LINKS

Gini Dietrich, Spin Sucks >> PR Pros: Stop Treating Bloggers Like Second-Class Media

Paul Roetzer, PR 20/20 >> Death of the Traditional Marketing Agency

Amber Naslund, Brass Tack Thinking >> 5 Reminders for Social Media Job Candidates

2 thoughts on “What’s Happened to PR? No More Unicorns and Rainbows

    • Valid point Ben. Another daunting challenge of the business industry: striking a balance between on and offline interaction. Getting out from behind the smoke and mirrors of the computer screen to network and learn with peers.
      Certainly drawbacks to increased nuclear/global relationships, especially in our personal lives.
      My greatest pain point: Appreciating and relishing the time I am given with friends and family. Few and far between as personal/professional crossroads evolve.

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