Should PR only be used for good?

Our charity PR Senior Account Manager, Victoria, gives her thoughts on the recent PR Week article ‘The Fight for the Soul of PR’.

 

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Is PR good or evil? Well, after working in the industry for approaching 10 years, I’ve never thought of my job as ‘evil’.  In fact, all I’ve ever aimed to do is raise the profile of an individual, business or community by securing good coverage for what they do well. I echo Lord Bell’s comment that “our responsibility to our clients is to give them the best service available at a price that reflects both the quality of service and the marketplace.”

However, subconsciously, have I always chosen the genre of clients I manage?

During my career I’ve always been very fortunate with the clients I’ve supported: visitor attractions, leisure destinations and hotels to universities, independent retailers and beauty brands.

Today, I’m working where my passion really lies, with charities and the third sector.  So, in that respect, could it be said that I only choose to do PR for good?

After putting my halo well and truly back on the shelf, the reality is that PR can be whatever you make it. Here at Clearsilver, I think we’re a very honest agency. We portray our clients (which cover all sectors and not just charities) in the best possible light. We draw attention to the highlights of their new product, event or effort and target appropriate media with a story angle in line with current news. There is nothing fake about it.

I think it’s also important to note that at Clearsilver we don’t accept every new business request. We consider ourselves specialists and we won’t take on a new project if we don’t 100% believe that we can deliver.

PR often gets a bad press, and the recent headlines about PR ‘gurus’ Max Clifford, Andy Coulson and Richard Hillgrove don’t help. In real life, I believe PRs just want to do a good job for their clients. They don’t lie, bend the truth or go to extreme measure to get coverage; they simply give the facts and proactively suggest good story angles to journalists.

As Home Retail Group corporate affairs director, Chris Wermann, agrees: “The days of PR spin, lightweight messaging and covering up corporate activity are long gone.”

Coming to the end of this article, I think we can safely say that I’m in the ‘PR for good’ camp and what a great quote from David Gallagher, CEO of Ketchum to conclude:

“Be proud of what you do, and do things of which you can be proud.”

 

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Victoria Sowerby

Head of PR

Victoria has over 10 years’ PR experience, delivering B2B and B2C campaigns for clients in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Notable highlights from her career include running the biggest-ever Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign for national charity The Haven, achieving over £1million-worth of media coverage in 12 months for Welcome to Yorkshire, and securing a double-page spread in The Times for a Team GB athlete ahead of the 2012 Winter Paralympics in Sochi.

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