EDITORIAL: You can't buy PR in a store, not even PR Store

PRWeek's letter writers are an unpredictable lot. Outside of the Public Affairs Council's prolific and witty Wes Pedersen, they sometimes disappoint.

PRWeek's letter writers are an unpredictable lot. Outside of the Public Affairs Council's prolific and witty Wes Pedersen, they sometimes disappoint.

Sure, you can guarantee that a minute malapropism, like the use of the word "jive instead of "jibe to mean "to be in harmony or accord, will prompt a mailbox overload. But the influx of other comments and complaints and compliments - the latter a scarce commodity, of course - is harder to predict.

After PRWeek ran a story on the franchise operation "PR Store, a new high street entity, we brace for many condemnations of such operations.

Instead, we got a single call asking for PR Store's digits.

So we'll condemn it ourselves: You can't just walk in off the street and buy "PR. PR is not just about having someone who can write a press release that gains coverage. It's having someone with ongoing knowledge of your business, and of which PR tools, used in which ways, will benefit that business.

Press releases and basic media relations could be served up from the high street, if the store's staff has sufficient talent and experience.

A "PR Store can't be a company's eyes, ears, and mouth, but it could offer to hone, distribute, and get coverage for a story.

All of which shows that people persistently confuse PR with media relations.

PR can be media relations, but it can also be IR, public affairs, employee relations or, indeed, communication with any public. And it's a non-stop job, not a one-shot project.

If we called media relations "media relations, and reserved PR as an umbrella title for all its constituent disciplines, it might increase the outside world's understanding of the breadth of our business and its development beyond the press release. In this respect, PR Store does the business no favors.

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