Monday, July 25, 2005

Plastic PR 

Over decades of working in PR, I have had occasion to meet practitioners who are obsessed about staying on message. They have a set of bullet points on a sheet or PowerPoint slides, and they repeat the points over and over. Ask any question that expands the points, and their response is the points. Try to get them off the points, and they come back to the points. The points are everything and if they say them often enough, they believe they will beat you down until you too believe the points.

I call this plastic PR because it is a facsimile of relationship building that PR espouses and not real relationship building at all. In real PR, one listens to the other side and explains a message in as many ways as it takes to get the other party to understand. That, by the way, is staying on message too but in a more human way.

Perhaps the most plastic of PR practitioners are those trained in political campaigns. They are reluctant to use any words but the approved ones because they fear -- and rightly -- that the media will confuse the message. And, the function of the media is to carry the message to the electorate. The media are mules in the politico's eyes and not humans. Needless to say, the media get impatient with slavish adherence to message -- and I don't blame them. Plastic PR practitioners are robots. You could replace them with a tape recorder and get as much relationship building.

Plastic PR practitioners don't help PR because they are too busy selling. Real practitioners listen as much as they speak.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?