To be honest, I still hate answering the "what do you do" question. Not that I hate what I do. On the contrary, I absolutely love it. I just hate the perception that generally accompanies my response. I get it, since PR has such a bad reputation, and unfortunately, often deservedly so. Everyone has a seemingly endless supply of horror stories to share, and I confess to mild amusement that my simple answer to that question appears to be the equivalent of an open invitation to regale me with their worst.
Not only have I heard them all, I've lived them when I made the decision to (briefly) hire a publicist. And somehow, despite the proposals and promises that seemed like an answer to my prayers, the proposed parade and confetti showers never q-u-i-t-e materialized.
So, yes, it makes me genuinely crazy when firms collect substantial fees, and do little or nothing to earn them. The natural progression that results is that the client finally gets fed up and swears off PR as a whole, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
There are no guarantees of coverage, of course, which is what makes PR such a slippery business. The lack of quantifiable measures often attracts the kind of person who enjoys the very cover that lack of accountability provides. But done right and done well, PR is an invaluable tool with which to grow one's business, and good PR can boost your business to levels otherwise unattainable.
Crafting pitches, following up, meeting with editors, sending images and collecting editorial..it's all surprisingly labor intensive and time consuming. Not brain surgery, certainly, but there is an art to doing it well and, as with anything, doing it well makes a world of difference.
Having been both a designer and business owner for more than a decade grants me a unique perspective and aesthetic that brings tremendous multi-dimensional value to the work we do.
We truly need to believe in our clients service or product, so that we can wholeheartedly extend ourselves as ambassadors for each brand. Our reputation, our taste level and trust are the tools of our trade with clients and editors alike, and they need to stand for something.
At the end of the day, any public relations campaign should be about building the clients business and putting money in their pocket. Period. Anything else is simply an expensive exercise in vanity.