Stereotypes – can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. I’ve found myself defending this industry countless times after the stereotypes portrayed in the media. Many PR professionals I have spoken with find these embarrassing and discrediting to a whole field of professionals.
Here are some presumptions you may have heard:
- We’re all women
- We lie, cheat, and manipulate to get what we want
- We spend all our time schmoozing clients over lunch
- We get daily freebies
- We’re constantly mingling with celebrities
- Our jobs are easy
The Samantha Jones Stereotype
Despite being a fictional character, Samantha Jones is more known than sleeping with clients rather than being a successful PR practitioner. Samantha is often seen at parties and schmoozing her clients and while yes, that is a part of PR, unfortunately it isn’t always that glamorous.
The Max Clifford Types
One of the UK’s most well known PR practitioners, Max Clifford has openly admitted to lying. He happily admits: ‘I’ve been telling lies on behalf of people, businessmen, politicians and countries for 40 years. It shouldn’t be necessary, but it is. I’d rather be honest, but I cannot be all the time… All PROs at all levels lie through their teeth.’ This of course raises all sorts of questions of credibility and ethics in the industry. Freddie Star Ate My Hamster springs to mind.
No, not the alternative rock band from the 90s, but the dishonest, deceitful, despicable people who give PR a bad rep. Known for constantly ‘spinning’ and twisting the truth, they can’t be trusted.
While we could just laugh this off in the know that these stereotypes are not (mostly) true. However, I feel that education is key to public relations being accepted as a profession. The only way we can banish these stereotypes is by creating new, more positive ones. As Danny Brown says, it isn’t the industry with the problem — it’s some of the people in it.
I recently saw this posted on Facebook by Jamie JaiB Byron
“This is amazing customer service… Made up to see there’s still company’s out there who make the effort to A: Read letters they receive & B: Respond to them… But then to just be out and out awesome about doing so makes me smile… Nice one Sainsburys!”
If you can’t read the response, it reads:
Thanks so much for your letter. I think renaming tiger bread giraffe bread is a brilliant idea – it looks much more like the blotches on a giraffe rather than the stripes on a tiger, doesn’t it?
It is called tiger bread because the first baker who made it a loooong time ago thought it looked stripey like a tiger. Maybe they were a bit silly.
I really liked reading your letter so I thought I would send you a little present. I’ve put a £3 gift card in with this letter, if you ask your mum or dad to take you to Sainsbury’s you could use it to buy some of your own tiger bread (and maybe if mum and dad say its OK you can get some sweeties too!) Please tell an adult to wait 48 hours before using this card.
I’m glad you wrote in to us and hope you like spending your gift card. See you in store soon.
Chris King (age 27 & 1/3)
Enclosed: £3 gift card”
My favourite part of the letter is “Chris King (no relation) 27 and 1/3″
While the cynical part of me questions if Jamie Byron is working for Sainsbury’s, I’m going to remain optimistic and hope that there really are some lovely people working in Sainsbury’s head office.
Good work Sainsbury’s. With 6,464 likes and 1362 shares in just 14 hours, it’s obviously struck a chord with many.
For me it’s important important to get experience of what working in PR is really like, and even though I’m only in my first year, I’m taking up every opportunity possible.
When I walked up to a huge glass building with thousands of people coming in and out every day, it was safe to say I was intimidated. Compared to my previous part time jobs, it was needless to say that commuting to London to work for a huge corporation like M&S was a very big deal.
For the week I was mainly focused in the Lingerie department but also got to spend time in the Press Office, which was brilliant experience that I really enjoyed. This was on the eighth floor and I was told that a few people had suffered panic attacks when they get to the 10th floor, with the whole buildng and lifts being made of glass. While I have no known fear of heights, even I was feeling a little woozy when I got to the top (that sounds likes some philisophical metaphor, but I promise you it’s not).
My week at M&S included:
- Shadowing PR and Marketing managers in pitches and meetings
- Conducting my own research in M&S London stores and it’s competitors (a day in Oxford Street and Westfields visiting stores such as Selfridges and Debenhams… yawn, it’s a hard life!)
- Preparing my own presentation to give to my boss… eek!
- Sending off press samples for photoshoots, etc
- Lots of office jobs and general running about!
Overall, I had a fantastic week. Getting to experience of what life working in the Big Smoke would really be like was really valuable, and something I could definitely see myself doing in the future. Despite the 5.30am starts in order to commute with some of Kents grumpiest folk – I loved every second!
I’ve been a bit M.I.A. from blogging this past month – apologies! I’ve been super busy. I thought I’d do a quick post of what I’ve been up recently
Social media strikes again – New Facebook newspaper apps allow you read more than just what your friends are doing
I’ve been seeing this new ‘articles read’ feature all over my Facebook
news feed recently. Newspapers including The Guardian
, the Washington Post
, the Independent
and The Daily
allow you to read popular articles via the site and share what you and others are reading – and it seems to be very popular with people my age. Continue reading
I was lucky enough to have Richard Bailey from Behind the Spin publish my feature, “I’m a person, get celebrities out of here” yesterday.
It focuses on celebrity endorsements for products and how many are using Twitter to get in on the act.
Behind the Spin is great for PR students and young practitioners and has some really interesting reads. Please take a look!
The Christmas season is almost upon us and we all know what that means…. Press campaigns! Here are three to watch out for this season
Myleene Klass launching the Truck Tour earlier this month
The first time you hear the ‘Holidays are coming’ ad on TV, you know the big guy in red is on his way… The Coca-Cola theme tune has become synonymous with the Christmas period after being revived in 2007. The iconic trucks have been doing a national tour across Great Britain launched by Myleene Klass. The ‘Truck Tour‘ has been hitting town centres in order to get people in the spirit… and to drink Coca-Cola of course Continue reading