As POTUS Ronald Reagan once coined, "There you go again..." One might ponder that in this day and age when "Drugs, Sex and Rock & Roll" no longer mix well and Cosby is on the hot seat, people in the communications business would think about their creative ambitions especially when the spotlight is 24x7 and realtime. Just in the last two months, we have seen PR case study after case study giving evidence to the Law of Good Intentions going horribly awry. From Theranos and Uber to Subway and Trump, there is and has been is a serious and frightening lack of good public relations counsel, thoughtful deliberation and deliberate due diligence.
The latest fiasco is the recent holiday ad for Bloomingdales. Just take a gander above to see it and Google it to see how many articles have been penned. It just makes me wonder where are the adults in the room? Where are the smart and savvy communications pros who should be the check and balance and the corporate conscience of the enterprise. Really, this is why we can't have nice things and more.
This "extreme" faux pas is what happens when:
a) The PR person takes their eye off the ball
b) Doesn't have a seat at the table
c) Is lazy
d) Doesn't monitor for potential pitfalls
e) The company does not have a PR pro on staff
f) A lawyer reads the copy
g) Clever-only ideas reign
h) PR is not in charge
That said, here is the essence once again (H/T Bull Dog Reporter) of a savvy and smart PR professional:
PR practitioners are no longer gatekeepers between their companies and the media. PR professionals are activists seeking to engage, enlighten, and energize an organization’s many stakeholders.
PR professionals advocate not just for their organizations but also for their organization’s constituents and stakeholders, which adds the important role of presenting the stakeholders interests and views to management.
PR practitioners also serve as strategic content developers and storytellers, helping their organizations formulate key messages that are resonant with the corporate culture and nature of the organization.
PR practitioners help an organization build mutual trust by encouraging transparency and integrity throughout the organization.
PR practitioners are counselors who actively advise and guide organizations in honestly communicating and behaving in the best interests of society and constituents such as customers, employees, shareholders, and the communities in which they operate.
PR professionals are enablers and connectors, helping organizations stay grounded, stay human, and stay sensitive to the needs and desires of their communities. In essence, the role of today’s public relations practitioner is akin to being the conscience of the organization, being ever vigilant to ensuring that the organization is “doing the right thing.”