Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Morning After 

One reason why PR practitioners should be careful about hype is the morning after when reality sets in. It is better to be understated rather than having to deal with issues such as this. The slump in the housing market parallels the slump in the stock market a few years ago. In both cases there was giddiness and excessive speculation, aided and abetted by shouts that there was a fortune to be made. Some did make fortunes: Most didn't. Many today are strapped with debt they can't pay. Those of us flogging the theme that owning a house is a superior form of investment are now forced to back peddle. Housing prices rise and fall like anything else.

This, of course, raises an issue for PR practitioners. What are we paid to do? Provide short-term advantage to clients or long-term positioning? The answer to that is yes and yes. In the political realm, there is only short-term advantage. One wins an election or goes home. In the corporate world, there is long-term positioning, but it too often is subverted by demands to sell today. That's unfortunate. "Business is a long time," as the saying goes. One should be looking at the horizon at the same time one is looking for the short-term opportunity for a client. When we fail to do this, we compromise the client and ourselves.


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