10 Most Common Misconceptions in PR

Posted on Posted in Student diaries

Hello there!

#beingaPRstudent means dealing with many misconceptions on a daily bases.

One of the reasons for this is the fact PR is a relatively young profession, so people haven’t had the opportunity to learn much about it. Another one is the misrepresentation in the media. I mean who doesn’t remember Samantha Jones?

As a PR student, I have a need to fight this bad reputation of my profession. ‘cause ironically, PR needs some PR.

So, here are ten statements/thoughts we come across quite often that aren’t really true.

 

 

  1. PR Professional is the person representing the client on TV.
  • The person we see on TV is a spokesman of the firm. He/She is chosen and trained to represent the firm within its communication strategy. The spokesman is absolutely related to PR of the firm itself as he/she is generally given directions by the PR department.
  • The spokesman can be thought of as a mirror of the firm as he/she represents everything the firm is on the outside. While CEO’s or other highly ranked managers are often chosen for this position, a representative from the PR department or another unrelated person can also be chosen. Public companies or departments usually have a special employer for this position: for example, the police spokesman.

 

  1. All PR is good PR! (Any press is good press)
  • Definitely a no. Most probably a losing strategy.
  • While negative PR gets you place in the press, or makes you a trending topic, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing.
  • Trending within a negative context can damage your company’s reputation in the long run and lead to clients/customers losing confidence and having a bad image of you. Furthermore, it can cause crisis, or even worse-collapse of the company.

 

  1. PR = Lying
  • Another definite no.
  • One of the first rules of PR is to never lie. Sooner or later lies will come to the surface and when so, your customers will lose all their confidence and trust towards your brand.
  • This does not necessarily mean all brands follow this rule. However, the thing is brands come and go. PR stays.

 

  1. PR is all about Media relations.
  • Well, not really. Media relations are just one of many branches of PR. While it is indeed important, it is by no means the only one. Some of the branches would be corporate PR, brand management, community management, government affairs, investor relations, stakeholder relations, etc.

 

  1. Good products don’t need publicity. Only bad products do.
  • Another totally wrong statement.
  • In a world in which we are faced with tens of thousands of messages from dozens of brands on a daily bases, it is hard for a brand to stand out. That’s why communicating with its targeted group is extremely important. Otherwise, no matter how good the product is, its potential customer will never even hear about it. That’s why publicity is vital for every product. If the product is good, it will keep on selling. If not, people won’t buy.

 

  1. PR managers do no work at all. (Except for when they drink!)
  • I believe everyone working in PR thinks to himself/herself ‘’Yeah, I wish’’ after reading something like this. PR is definitely not a 9-to-5 job. On the contrary, it’s a job you’re active 24 hours a day if necessary. Days are filled with meetings (both client meetings and inside meetings, such as brainstormings), researching, planning, developing, executing and reporting of different projects simultaneously. Shortly, there are many tasks to be done in a day.

 

  1. PR is super glamorous.
  • Another point separating real life PR from Samantha Jones’s one.
  • It isn’t just events, parties or hanging out with celebrities. Even though event and brand management are an important part of PR, that isn’t the only thing that gets done. I’ve already mentioned the wide spectrum of tasks within the field.
  • At the same time, the task of events (or parties) management itself isn’t as glamorous as people generally see it. In addition to its public perspective, there’s also a behind the scenes perspective. Which isn’t as glamorous as the first one. One needs to think of a lot of stuff people might not even notice, but are still important, such as cables, lightning, tech support, menu, branding, etc. And while doing so, you have to be extremely focused on every little detail, because one simple problem might lead to a disaster. Meaning there’s a lot of work behind the closed doors of what is thought as a glamorous event or party.

 

  1. PR gets results overnight.
  • If we think of PR’s task of developing the reputation and image of a brand and at the same time remember that emotions such as trust toward brands aren’t formed overnight, we can easily see why significant results cannot be made overnight.
  • This doesn’t mean you can’t get a brand trending overnight. However, PR isn’t a thing done just once. It’s a constant and strategic work. Meaning one successful campaign doesn’t mean long term success.

 

  1. Public relations and marketing are the same thing.
  • Not really. Even though this is a discussion on its own, shortly I can say they separate on few grounds one of which is their final goal. While marketing aims at selling the product/service, PR aims at building long lasting relationships with key audiences as well as working on the reputation and the image of the product/service.
  • However, both should be synchronized and working together.

 

  1. PR is pure luck.
  • Just like in any other part of life, luck is present in business life and PR as well. However, by no means is it the only thing that ‘gets you places’. While some campaigns might look effortless or spontaneous, that isn’t always necessarily the case. PR equals strategy. Therefore, in those cases, seeming effortless might be the strategy. Luck alone doesn’t get things done. Unfortunately.

 

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