PR's biggest challenge is its own reputation

When I tell people I work in public relations, I get a wide range of reactions.

Most acquaintances perceive that it's a world of long lunches, hanging out with celebrities and parties at iconic locations.

If I had a pound for everyone who tells me that my profession is full of vacuous airheards and Machiavellian masters of disingenuous spin, I'd be able to retire.

I've long been a member of the CIPR and am delighted to have just achieved Chartered Practitioner status, the highest qualification in PR in the UK.

Calacus PR agency is also a member of the PRCA and while both organisations do a great job enhancing and promoting the public relations industry, PR agencies and consultants tend to be so busy that we do not do enough to justify our own profession.

Far from the popular image, PR is a highly effective form of communication and something every organisation should utilise.

The hunger for information is growing as more people own smartphones and tablets. While the world of journalism may have suffered in the economic downturn due to a reduction in advertising revenues, there are still a wide variety of avenues where organisations can get their messages heard.

I have always been passionate about communication.

I believe being able to tell stories, to ignite the imagination and to help companies, individuals and causes to grow through meticulous and strategic communications planning is of tremendous value. 

Very few PR consultants spend their lives selling salacious gossip to the tabloids.

Very few PR consultants spend their lives trying to cover up the unethical practices of clients. 

Very few PR consultants spend their lives on long lunches, at glamorous parties and getting up to mischief with celebrities.

PR is dynamic, exciting and challenging. It is a lifestyle choice as much as it is a career choice, full of drama and toil, creativity and thrills.

As an industry, we have two challenges.

We have to continually educate others, be they potential clients, the media and every possible audience we ever have to reach that while we are in the business of selling messages and information, we also provide high level strategic advice that helps organisations to grow.

We also have to inspire new generations to take up PR, to continue to ensure that all those who are already part of this wonderful industry that continuing to learn through courses, Continuous Professional Development, seminars and workshops is an essential part of our business.

Public relations seeks to be a profession and that only comes by raising the standards at every level and by instilling an educative urge into all practitioners that can help the industry assert itself as a bona fide chartered career.

PR is constantly evolving and we must evolve with it.