After 25 years in advertising, I entered the world of Public Relations. I explained why I did that in my first post. Today, I want to address a question that I get asked all the time, “How does this compare? What's different?”
First of all, I picked my title carefully, as I am finding more that's familiar than not. The differences are quite notable, however.
The first observation on what's different is the nature of the work: PR is simply much broader than advertising. From the sweet spot of media relations to the intricacies of public affairs to the demands of professional services, I find the breadth of audiences and the depth of subject matter expertise much more robust than what I was accustomed. It strikes me that no one in PR ever met a detail they didn't like! That level of understanding regarding a client's business is both challenging and refreshing.
Second, it's the wide variety of ways that messages are delivered. From traditional press and broadcast media placements to blogger outreach to social media dialogue, I am exhilarated by the many ways that PR works to deliver a message. It's amazing being at the confluence of this massive and growing conversation that is marketing today. In PR, you can really feel the speed of change in the world and must anticipate and react with equal dexterity.
Third, it's fascinating to me how much this space truly relies on relationships to achieve success. Much of what I did in my past life was, by comparison, episodic and transactional.
Lastly, I find the people to be an interesting mix of intellectuals, passionate counselors, staunch defenders of integrity, and creative problem solvers who think about the world through an unfiltered lens. It's far less about “what does it look like?” and much more about, “what is the story that must be told.”
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Steve Hardwick is president of the eastern region for Fleishman-Hillard.