PR Notes- The Art of PR Counsel

It never ceases to amaze me the gap between myth and reality regarding the role of PR.  The subject was part of a recent discussion with a colleague.  This marketing manager was sharing with me how much she would appreciate it if someone could spend time with her boss to help define the role of PR within her department.  The boss was constantly pressuring her to drop what she was doing to focus on the next real-time opportunity to create publicity and sales for the company.

I’m often reminded of the following folk tale shared for generations among PR flaks:

Management to PR:  “Fly to New York for a press tour.  I want an article on the front page of the New York Times ( or any top tier outlet) espousing the great work were are doing.  Make it happen!”  In the often unlikely event that the article appears, then the next response.

Management to PR: “The New York Times article had no effect on sales, where is my return on investment?”

Sadly, this scene continues to play out daily in offices everywhere.  If this is the case in your office, you might consider the following:

1- Schedule a PR counsel session with management.

2- Share your philosophy regarding the role of PR.  In my opinion, the role of PR is to build relationships with target audiences to share stories regarding how your product or service provides a solution to a common challenge or opportunity.

3- Share your philosophy regarding the benefits of PR.  In my opinion, while 3rd part affirmation can often prove the deciding factor on behalf of a prospect, PR is not responsible to generate direct sales.  Our strategy, messages, audiences and tactics are designed to compliment, not replace or compete with, sales and marketing campaigns.

The next time your asked to directly move the sales meter upward, consider the value of honest PR counsel.  It may save you pain in the future.