New definition won’t change public’s ‘lack of respect for PR’

What the industry really needs is substantial training and a better way to measure and reward results, says this 35-year veteran PR pro.

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What’s interesting is that this is not a new conversation or problem. It’s been going on since before I earned my bachelor’s degree in PR way back when.

Defining PR is about much more than being able to tell people what you do for a living. The public has a fundamental lack of respect for PR practitioners, and a lot of it has to do with the vagaries of the compensation model.

I have been a part of countless management meetings that tried to tackle this issue, first with Hill and Knowlton and then at GCI Group.

How do we improve profit margins?

Can we change the business model?

We also discussed these issues at seminars with instructors from leading universities, such as the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School. We looked at it from quite a few angles, but didn’t come up anything we could afford to implement at the time.

We pushed the problem ahead, and we’re still dealing with it today.

If we want people to take PR more seriously, we need to make two big changes:

1. Focus on measurement and accountability.

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