It’s ironic really, considering the role of a public relations professional is to work on reputation and protect it from damages. So why can’t PR profs create a better representation of themselves?
In PR Week, a study showed that nine in ten people believe that PR is used by people to deceive the public, 22% even going as far as to say that they believe PR creates ‘fake news’. This research, carried out by Ginger Research, shows a startling and worrying image of how the public views PR. These prejudices mainly arise from the public not knowing what PR actually is, or what people who work in the business, actually do.
This week I saw that trouble first-hand when my boyfriend joked that I am going to become a “Spin-doctor”. While I took the quip on the chin, I did question him whether he actually knew what I was studying or what I profession I will be entering once I graduate. He said that PR is basically social media and covering things up.
This damaging conception appears to be what is driving the public’s thoughts on PR and it creates the distrusting nature around the industry. There is so much more to it than covering things up, and clearly that would openly happen if there were incidents or crisis’ that needed help managing – note, managing not covering up. It feels unjust that something that plays a prominent and unnoticed part in our society, holds a bad reputation.
That is the problem though, and why it has never been solved – people don’t know what PR is because it’s behind the scenes and works quietly in the background. True, it runs social media in some instances like my boyfriend thought, but it liaises with Journalists to run stories, plans and organises promotional events, and works to plan and run campaigns.
Going into the future, we must work on changing the misconceptions around PR and encourage people to be more trusting towards it. Especially as they probably don’t realise just how much they run into it online or in the media or on the streets – it seems such a shame that the industry gets taken for granted.
It is a complex and interesting industry to work in – I just wish that other people would view it like I do.
Thanks for reading, -personally, Emma