Mythbusters: Public Relations edition
Public Relations (PR) is an industry that has been getting a bad rap for decades. From the days of propaganda to current day publicity stunts, the PR industry in consistently subject to the court of public opinion. As a result, there have been a fair few misconceptions going around, but here are the top three myths debunked:
1). PR practitioners are ‘spin doctors’
‘Spin doctor’ is one of the most commonly used terms associated with PR and it originates from America in the 1980s. It refers to press agents and publicists who spin bad situations to be favourable in the eyes of the public. In reality however, PR practitioners use extensive and critical thinking to reconstruct the key message a brand is trying to convey in order for the public to better understand it. Many advocate for brands to tell the truth and be transparent when things go awry.
2). PR practitioners have no morals or ethics
People strongly believe that PR practitioners do whatever they like, however they like and have a disregard for any core values. It’s the contrary – the PR industry is highly regulated by ethical codes of conduct and standards for practice. The ethical standards cover all aspects of PR from privacy protection to conflict of interest disclosure to acting for the public good. In addition, many PR managers also use their moral compass as a significant basis for accepting or declining clients and projects.
3). PR equals Marketing
One of the most common misconceptions by the public is that PR and Marketing are the same thing and can therefore be used interchangeably. PR focuses on building a brand, heightening awareness, creating relationships with the public and generating trust. Marketing focuses on selling a service or product.