Over the years, Clifford and the PR industry have both energetically sought to distance themselves from one another.
Yet the fact remains that while Clifford persists in referring to PR practitioners as a breed with which he has little familiarity, these days he is increasingly keen to underline the fact that he has built a thriving and very profitable business providing straight down the line PR consultancy to a respectable stable of retained clients.
Though Clifford's success is unlikely to cause the UK top 10 agencies any sleepless nights, he does need to be taken seriously because, as far as the public and media are concerned, he remains the most famous 'PR man' in the world. His highest profile work may bear little resemblance to the day-to-day work of most PROs, but it certainly captures the imagination of the media and the public.
While Clifford's prominence may infuriate PR purists, it cannot be dismissed as an irrelevance until the industry succeeds in fielding a thought leader with comparable media skills and presence.