EDITORIAL: Bolland's attack makes valid point

Personal image management is fraught with the pitfalls common to most adviser/client relationships - no matter how hard you work to build reputation in a certain way, one negative story can undermine all that effort.

But it also has its own challenges. Clients may be influential and susceptible to arrogance. They may lack respect for the adviser, and therefore decline to pay a decent fee. They may even consider their own behaviour to be less significant in forming their reputation than the skills of their PRO, which, of course, it never is.

All of which makes it especially important that, as former Prince Charles adviser Mark Bolland told the PRWeek Forum last week, the Prince treats the discipline of PR and its practitioners with respect when it comes to deciding on a new press secretary. Handing responsibility to an overworked and (at least in communications) underqualified private secretary simply will not do. There are now encouraging signs that this message has sunk in at the Palace.

Of course, the same point - that one should hire a professional to do a professional job - could equally be applied to Cherie Blair, who is also reported to be casting around for a replacement to her outgoing PR adviser, Fiona Millar. She at least seems to be taking the process seriously from the start, and not merely allowing a non-specialist to take on a role for which he or she is neither suited nor trained.

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