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

Lou Holtz, Hendrix and the Prince of Egypt on Attitude: Just Believe

Admonitions from Lou Holtz in my Twitter stream jarred me out of a summer haze (not that kind, deviants…) this morning:

Ability is what you are capable of.

Motivation determines what you do.

Attitude determines how well you do it.

Admittedly, I’ve had a chip on my shoulder lately. Too often it’s easy to gripe about perceived injustice, lack of appreciation or acknowledgement from friends, family and in the workplace.

Even if said sentiments are valid, I’ve come to realize it’s just wasted time, space and energy.

As with forgiveness, happiness is a choice. It’s a gift we give ourselves.

Again, as mentioned in previous posts: the world doesn’t care if you have a degree, nor how hard you may have worked for it.

The world doesn’t care if you’re grossly underpaid, overqualified, under-qualified or entitled. If you have a dissertation, 14K grill like Lil Wayne, 10-foot spoiler on a tiny sedan or more bling than the polar ice caps.

But the world might care if you care. Might believe if you believe. 

How many times, mornings…

Days.

Weeks.

Months does it get increasingly harder to wake up ready and willing to face whatever’s next?

To extricate ourselves from our own self-pity, helpless-complex or demoralizing slumps and quietly say:

I’ll try again.

I’ll be better.

And not for anyone else but me.

And with that perspective the nerve and renewed desire to lighten someone else’s load, too…

That’s commitment. That’s selflessness from selfishness. Cynics might dismiss as antiquated, but experience seems to say that forgiving yourself usually precedes forgiving others.

As Daniel Deronda said, it’s about using your unhappiness to help you see other peoples’ pain. 

One of my favorite flicks is the story of John Nash, the mathematics savant from West Virginia played by Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, which garnered 4 Academy awards (including Best Picture) in 2001.  

One scene that particularly resonated with me depicts a young, salient and blisteringly impatient Nash witnessing a “pen ceremony” (where faculty present their pens in honoring and welcoming a distinguished member).

Though not an official rite of passage at Princeton, the reel goes on to Nash’s professor asking, ‘What do you see?’ Nash replies, “Recognition.”

Shaking his head, the professor elucidates him: Accomplishment.

So often we miss the mark because we’re too focused on the mark, rather than our motives and the process of getting there. Perhaps the hardest part is recognizing when perspective’s lost, where we might have veered off-course in our attempts to control where we’re headed.

The notion of a journey, not a destination. The notion of being present, and slowing down to embrace the moment for what it is.

Granted, nothing worthwhile comes without a cost. I’ve learned that the most rewarding and enriching experiences have also stretched me the most.

Have hurt the most. Have disappointed the most. But man you stretch — and that’s what truly matters.

My first annual review post-college is this month, a part-time gig at a humble, locally-owned business in the town where I attended university. Perhaps the title and the prestige aren’t there, but at some point the world doesn’t seem to care a whole lot about that either.

Rather than dwelling on the fact that friends, family and loved ones are thousands of miles away out West and scattered across the globe, I’ve learned in the past few years to focus on making the best of the people, places and time that are in front of me.

To check my attitude, and willingness to make someone’s life a little easier. To accept the only guarantee I know so far: change is consistent.

Upcoming Footloose ( ahem — remake) dude Kenny Wormald‘s onto something:

If you’re true to yourself and you work hard, and treat people with respect you will Grow… 

RELATED LINKS

Dan Waldschmidt >> Why Believing is the New Selling

Spin Sucks >> Seven Habits to Change the Perception of PR

Anthony Iannarino (new site looks great) >> Unlearning Learned Helplessness

Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute >> PR and Fighting the Content Marketing Battle Within

 

 

TopRankMarketing features PR 2020’s New Leadership Series

CLEVELAND – Another Big thanks to paper.li‘s Top Rank Marketing for featuring fellow Baldwin-Wallace alum and PR colleague, Christina Capadona-Schmitz’s latest post in its section #PR.

Capadona recently presented at BW’s Distinguished Leaders Conference, and debuted the first phase of a three-part leadership series entitled Make It Personal on PR 20/20’s blog. The series is an excellent resource for graduating students, emerging professionals and seasoned veterans  alike within the PR and marketing industry –and anyone interested in effective social and professional leadership.

Here is the present link, and as always I will update it tomorrow when it transitions to archive :)

Congratulations to Christina and the rest of the team at PR 20/20!

TopRankMarketing.comtoprank The TopRankMarketing.com Daily is out! http://bit.ly/bmtnkw ▸ Top stories today via @yasminbendror @byron_fernandez @socialtribes21

Archive link >>http://paper.li/toprank/2011/04/13

Part I >> Make It Personal: Brand Building for PR and Marketing Pros

Paul Roetzer >> Rise of the Inbound Marketing Agency

PR 20/20 >>Disrupt or Die: 6 Tips on Disruptive Innovation

Pamela Slim >> Do Your Strongest Values Hold You Back?

Spin Sucks >> Three Ways You Suck at Listening to Your Audience