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The three types of PR people

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The Economist sticks the boot in to the PR trade this week, in a piece which claims there are three types of flak.

1) The friendly-on-the-surface pontificator who gets hostile to journalists that ask awkward questions

2) The Trappist-like note taker who’s aim is to attract as little attention as possible

3) The ones who are useful

The writer notes: “Some PR people supply useful facts about the company when asked, give an accurate steer on whether market rumours are true, and arrange an interview with the chief executive when required. These helpful PR people are scattered unevenly across the corporate sector. It is virtually impossible to predict where they will be found.”

My three types of PR people are:

1) Those who bombard me with emails on stuff about which I could care less. (What’s the point?)

2) Those who phone me on stuff about which I could care less. (A minor irritant.)

3) The ones who are mostly really good at their job.

For groups one and two, I guess training might be the issue. No one gives them any. So far as I can tell, there is little expectation on their part that they will generate actual publicity. Their job is to look busy, to report back to clients that they got “engagement” from 100 journalists, even if 99 of them were bored or annoyed.

So group three are in the minority, but there are lots of them at the top of financial PR, which makes me think The Economist is being a bit mean, and perhaps well out of date.

(The piece begins: “Some decades ago…”)

This week I had a fairly common experience with a company I hadn’t written about for years.

In about two minutes the flak gave me a catch-up on everything I had missed, confirmation of some negative stuff about the company that I needed to check and a good guide to where the industry is at the moment.

She was vital to my not making a hash of it and far from everything she told me was in the company’s favour. She’s just good at her job.

There’s loads of really professional PR people like that.

And perhaps not enough.

Just 35% of buildings in the UK are sustainable, says this from Johnson Controls.

That casts doubt on the ability of organisations to hit net-zero and other eco-targets.

Safe offices are plainly going to be very important from here on. The report thinks leaders will prioritise that safety over profits, which I somehow doubt.

See Press Release

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