Why Are There So Many Women in PR?

Sam Howzit

[Originally posted on PRSAY, the PRSA blog.]

That’s a question a lot of media watchers have been asking lately. Now that the rules of communications and interaction are being rewritten by a generation of digital natives who live their lives online 24/7, it’s time to reevaluate what this job—which I have loved ever since I made the shift from advertising to PR about six years ago—really means.

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Corporate Branding Digest, Dec. 2, 2013

Keys to Breakthrough Brand Messaging
(Branding Strategy Insider, 26.11.13)

In a world where it’s never been harder to get people’s attention, too many brands have nothing in their DNA and in their messages that brings a smile to the faces of consumers. They exist. But there is no Long Idea. There is nothing iconic. There are no delicious insights. As a result, their marketing is often just information and, hard as it is for many brand managers to hear this, pure-play marketing information is flatline from an excitement point of view.

Hashtags Breathe Life Back into Social Commerce
(Ad Age, 13.11.13)

Social commerce—the purchasing of products through social media—is on the rebound. And that rebound is being aided by an unlikely ally—the simple hashtag. Hashtags have migrated to Facebook from their origins on Twitter and are growing in use from Google+ to Tumblr as well. They have particularly benefited from the explosive growth of Instagram, where they make photos and videos easily categorized and searchable.

3 Ways Leaders Can Inspire and Motivate Employees
(All Business Experts, 24.10.13)

To lead people is far different than to manage people, but the two are not mutually exclusive. Managing is far more involved with the tasks that people do, and leading is more about the people who perform the tasks. In order to achieve great things, you’ll need to do both well, but exceptional leadership skills will make it far easier to manage, as everybody involved is striving to achieve the same goal.

6 Tips for Using Social Media to Screw Business as Usual
(Virgin.com, 30.09.13)

Social media has become one of the best ways for environmental start-ups and non-profits to generate interest (and funding) for their causes. We are all learning as we go, but Virgin Unite, the Elders, the Carbon War Room, Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship, OceanElders and Global Commission on Drug Policy are all harnessing social media to share our messages further. Here are our top six tips.

“An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.” —Winston Churchill

Corporate Branding Digest, Sept. 4, 2013

5 Common Brand Messaging Mistakes by Marketers
(Mashable, 05.08.13)

Messaging is an important part of branding. Your marketing messages must capture your audience’s attention and compel them to action, whether they’re shopping in the store, browsing on your web site or recommending your product to a friend. And yet even the most seasoned marketers sometimes struggle to develop effective messaging.

Taking the Guesswork Out of Content Marketing
(PRWeek, 20.08.13)

Content marketing is the marketing tactic du jour. Like social media marketing, WOM marketing and good old-fashioned leaflet drops, content marketing is another way to get people talking.

Planning for a Social Media Crisis
(Ragan’s PR Daily, 21.08.13)

If you’ve ever managed a social media crisis, you know that it can be an all-consuming experience. All you want to do is go home and bury your head in a mountain of pillows and blankets. At the same time, the last thing you want to do is stop working until it’s solved.

Social Media the Most ‘Reliable’ Form of Customer Service Contact, but Only 2 Percent Have Used It Recently
(The Drum, 19.08.13)

Around 80 percent of consumers who have contacted a brand through social media platforms heard back from the company within 12 hours; compared with 37 percent who contacted a company through email, eDigitalResearch has found.

“The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” —Walter Bagehot

Mastering the Message

As a PR professional, I’m fascinated by the messaging from both sides of the political aisle in the United States about the Navy SEAL mission that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden. Personal politics aside, most Americans would agree this was an incredibly important moment in Barack Obama’s presidency. News reports of the difficult decision-making process that led to his order have helped solidify half the population’s view of him as a strong leader and possibly helped to boost that view in the other half.

And yet it’s interesting to watch the unfolding credit/blame game. Some Democrats refuse to give any credit to prior administrations for work that helped lead to this day. Some Republicans refuse to give credit to the Obama administration without mentioning the Bush administrations in the same breath—or even before mentioning Obama.

Although my personal politics might be no secret (try Googling me), I admire the Bush administration’s message team. Their complete mastery of staying on message was enviable and took hard work and loyalty. Even though they are no longer in office—and have their own careers and opinions to tout—they continue that strong tradition of coordinated messaging.

Consider a sampling of news reports. Wednesday, The New York Times chronicled the various reactions of former Bush administration heavyweights, including these:

  • Karl Rove: “Congratulations also to President Obama and his national security team for their adroit leadership of this operation. And thanks is also due President Bush, whose policies provided the tools that led to the discovery of Bin Laden’s hiding place.”
  • Ari Fleischer: “President Obama gets credit. It happened on his watch. The decision to use helicopters as opposed to aerial bombardment was extremely gutsy.… Does Bush get credit? Of course he does. But nothing says that credit in this country cannot go to two presidents.”

And from the other side of the aisle?

  • House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called President Bush to thank him for his efforts. She was often a critic of his policies but said, “I wanted him to know the appreciation that many of us have in a bipartisan way. We have all recognized in our public comments that his role was important in having this success.”

President Bush, very classily, I thought, declined the invitation offered by President Obama to appear with him at Ground Zero yesterday. Some news reports have said he felt his team didn’t receive enough credit from Obama when the initial announcements were made, but openly he cited his reasoning as a desire to stay out of the public eye. I don’t pretend to know his personal feelings on this or any issue, but he certainly deserves to have some strong emotions, having been the president who was in office during the worst terrorist attack on American soil. But staying away—along with President Obama’s decision not to speak at Ground Zero—helps this moment belong to the victims’ families, as it should.

So whose message wins? I hope no one person’s. The implications of this accomplishment are too big for any one individual or administration to receive all the credit. As a nation, it is a time of reflection and remembrance of lives lost and acknowledgment that justice has been served. No messaging document can express that.

Photo credit: creative commons/by uhuru1701