You want to know what PR consultants really do, and you have previously watched a number of films and episodes of series in which you had the opportunity to “peek” into the wonderful world of PR? Well, you will partly get the answer to the first part of the question but under the condition to immediately forget the first association that you can think of, and which are the product of the second part of this question. Yes, exactly that TV-show. No, nothing like Samantha Jones. Oh that comedy movie? Yes. No, nothing like that neurotic bald PR-event-celebrity-crisis managers either.
With extremely positive exceptions (we will write another time about them because it is healthier to take out frustration at the beginning and then turn to the brighter side of life), if you are a PR in a Hollywood movie or in “it” series of the millennium, you do not have many choices for presenting yourself and your business to the public. So, if you are a short, balding and full of problems, who juggles three phones at the same time and bounces from one place to another shooting / interview / or anything else and at the same time changing your face from an unbearable control freak, which his own client simply cannot stand, or (in rare moments of good humor) sycophant who is willing to bribe anyone so his client’s story found its way as Dorothy to Kansas. In other situations you will, however, be the case of so many times chewed and spat, Samantha Jones and other TV crew which is a little less famous and less impressionable. It is, in fact, (for those who do not know yet) about a trendy woman that, instead of liters of coffee, drinks only the finest cocktails, attends only the most elite events and stands next to the most famous celebrities of our time. And in her spare time she changes her boyfriend’s name to “little more Hollywood-style” and launches him into the world of celebrities.
Award winning question: How long would that little bald nervous guy or Samantha actually work in a respectable PR agency before someone gets rid of them? If you think they would last for more than five or six months – now is the time to make that face like when you, as playful child, crashed mother’s tray with freshly baked cake on the kitchen floor.
Anyway, we should let go of the overly-neurotic or party-mood television PR wizards and deal with PR mortals. Let me introduce you with some myths about public relations which we will try to break in the text below.
Myth No. 1: PR or event lover
Sorry, this myth is actually true, because we often know to be true real event-lovers. But somehow I doubt that we all think of the same job description. Most people think that this statement means that you arrive at a party at the same time as your client, walk with him on the red carpet with a gifted designer handbag, drink Aperol / Chivas / Martell all night, mingle care freely, and every five minutes catch a perfect Instagram fashion moment that will in the next three and a half hours get hundreds of likes from Insta-friends/celebrities. And if it’s a really good vibe at the event, you may have time to flirt. Well all of this … is not going to happen! When we say event, it means arriving three hours before and setting the rest of the scenery or decorations around the room, transferring some strange boxes (imagine that!) while hoping that the powder / lipstick / hairstyle (this is now personalized, do not mind) would make it at least until the beginning when the most important guests arrive. At first sight relaxed mingling at the event and conversation with customers / journalists / and-everyone-important actually is mottled with well camouflaged control freak scan whether the program is going according to the plan or full of interventions like going behind the bar because a group of important guests asked for their own special waiter , while the existing four waiters at the bar are busy throwing cocktails into the air, doing fire shows or emptying / filling the fridge. And then, at some point, you find yourself behind the bar, opening bottles and sending drinks (shhhhh) to the VIP team in the corner next to the pillar. And when the event is over, in real Cinderella style, we throw the heels away, sit on the floor in our own special “working” space and choose the best photos from the event along with your buddy – camera. And once you catch a good three to four hours of sleep, that same morning you turn the laptop on and send the press release. The bottom line is, most of the planning and working on “the event” includes a lot of physicality, running, planning content that the media and fans on social networks would accept and publish, preparing press kits … If you are not running, then you are, in most cases, bound to the table, but not the one in a cool bar or trendy club, but in the office.
Myth No. 2: PR are fun and a lot of people would like to do that job
Yes, PR is awesome if you’re a movie fan who met some of the above mentioned characters in a movie or your favourite series. In real life, the PR is not an easy story. In real life, people may spent many, many long hours in order to do the job properly, and that rhythm often overflows in your free time. People working in PR need to be absolutely aware of all the needs and goals of each client (and there is never only one) in order to design and implement solutions which will help in achieving the goals of clients. In translation, this means that you would have hard times, with often impossible deadlines, and in all of this you will need to find solutions quickly and adapt your plan to unplanned situations that are often in this job. There is a special connection between us and those “small wild beast” called We-have-a-problem-change the-tactics-immediately. And, of course, we often meet our good old friend Murphy and there is a high probability that those little beasts jump out on several projects / clients – at the same time. Brace yourself!
Myth No. 3: PR increases sales
You know that nervous feeling in your tummy? Well, it can come in those glorious moments when Matko Matković remarkably emphasizes at the meeting: “We will transfer the budget for advertising into the PR in order to increase sales.” Well, Matko, and then what? If you hire a PR agency at the time when your only goal is to increase sales, stop immediately. PR does not increase sales, but designs ways to introduce people with the product and interest them. And then, after all, only a part of them will decide to purchase. PR ensures your brand visibility and, somehow, manages its reputation. Use PR as additional support for your sales and you will achieve goals. But, if you replace PR with sales completely, the best thing might be to consider boxing course as soon as possible. Apparently, it is the best way to remove all forms of stress, anger and frustration that you will fight sooner than expected.
Myth No. 4: PR or unbearable lightness of lying
Yes, there are liars – all around us, unfortunately. However, in most of the cases it has to do exclusively with themselves, not with their job. Unless you are a spy. For everybody else, lying is not the condition for the work they do. In PR, there is a group of individuals to whom spinning is their only task and they often seek to cover up the bad (and often unethical) moves. But the rest of us don’t live “on the edge” and deal with “mortal” topics. For example, we will help you to find out why and how will some innovative household product make your everyday life easier. Brands we are working with just want to be mentioned in more stories with a positive context, and we are using tactics that will accomplish this.
Myth No. 5: PR has the magic formula “to-become-famous-over-night”
Most of us would love to have a conversation with the genius Sheldon Cooper in the famous scene from the amazing Big Bang Theory series.
Penny: Sheldon, what are you drinking?
Sheldon: I’ll have a Diet Coke.
Penny: Please, could you choose a cocktail? I have to practice preparation of cocktails, as you can see
Sheldon: Okay, then I’ll take non-alcoholic Cuba Libre
Penny: Well, that’s, ummm, rum and Coke without the rum
Penny: So, you drink a Coke.
Sheldon: Yes, and would you please make it diet?
That’s it. It is not bad to be Penny, and have a wider choice when at the same time modest (or at least realistic) customers across her wants – a little less than that. However, since we are working in PR, our production of Cuba Libre cocktail looks like this:
“Dear PR – I have as much money as necessary, and I have a Coke. Even lemon. I want you to make me, in five minutes, the best Cuba Libre that i have ever tried. Rum? Mmmm, whoops, we did not buy it. And yes, do not forget the ratio.” That’s fantastic! That is what exclusively Eddy and Patsy would say at this point, and after lots of glasses (or bottles) of favourite beverage.
Dear all, PR is not, as my dear colleague Tajči would say, new age mumbo jumbo. PR does not offer a single magic formula by which you will, until recently virtually unknown to narrower or wider public which you care about, after hiring PR professionals, begin to glow as Bella Swan in the Twilight saga, and the world will look at you and be impressed. PR is not a magic soup which you can offer to editors and journalists and by next week you will count publications in the most popular newspapers and on the most widely read portals, and that you did not have to do anything. Things do not work that way.
PR is a very desirable and necessary support for you as a person that wants to get position in base. Before PR comes into play, you need good and quality material, based on which you will be able to build a story, and in which you personally have to put a lot of effort. PR is not making things up and does not try to “sell” them as a pig in a poke to “naive” journalists, but points out the qualities that already exist, and to target audiences who have their own minds and the right to their own opinion. If anyone tries to convince you that PR can do absolutely everything, probably make new Severina out of your grandmother, you should not stay in further touch with them. Your money would be better spent if you throw it from your bag standing on the edge of the Sava bridge than to pay verbal exhibitionism of frivolous ridicules.