Public Relations and Bad Reputation
In case when some organization or an individual has reputation problem, the solution is to hire PR professional before it is too late. However, the true irony is that PR as a profession suffers from serious reputation problem. Why is that? We can imagine several reasons. In a less negative sense, this is a struggle that is not unusual in the world of science. Since PR is a relatively new and non-established scientific field, it has to deserve its respect.
World of science is a closed world, and scientists often tend to form their exclusive groups in order to protect their own members, interests and theories. So maybe PR just has to wait couple of years to prove its status. And in the meantime develop measurable concepts and strong theories. Probably still the biggest challenge is to make distance between marketing as a economic theory, and PR. Many people still just do not understand that PR is not a subspecialty of marketing. Basic difference is that marketing is profit-oriented, since the goal is to successfully sell some product. On the other hand, PR is understanding-oriented. The goal is to achieve mutual understanding between client and its public. Second, and more concerning, reason for bad reputation is linked with ethical standards.
Lawyers have this same problem. People often point questions like: how can someone defend a murderer, and still be a moral person? Unfortunately, this problem will be present until there are unethical PR practicioners. And it is likely to expect that there will always be at least few of them. It is truly unfair to blame the whole profession because of the few individuals, but it is how things are. Since this is the case, young people who are entering the business must not be misguided with flashy lifestyle and enormous salaries. Media portrayal of PR often goes in that direction, describing it as a close one to power – economic or political. That is not necessary non-realistic view, but it can not be the central motif for starting a career in PR. Maybe it is the long run, but working according to the standards will eventually result with the professional respect.