One of the main issue that remains today in Public Relations is the role of PR practitioners within their organisation. Many things have been said about PR practices and many words have been used to describe it : spin, propaganda,persuasion, and so on.
In his book ‘Rethinking PR’, Kevin Moloney (2000) even says of PR that it is ‘such a pervasive activity in our society today that it is impossible for a citizen or consumer to avoid‘. Indeed, PR has made its way through almost any activity, from finance to entertainment and it is now almost impossible to launch a business or conduct an activity without taking into account promotional issues and the importance of PR.
As a PR student myself, I realise that I now see PR everywhere (hazard of the profession ?). Every time I come accross a video on social media or an article, I can’t help but ask myself ‘What is the point of that video ? Is it driven or created by PR professionals ?’.
That’s precisely what happened when I stumbled upon the following video.
My brain immediately told me that it was not so innocent and after a quick research, I found out that the Mimi Foundation was the initiator of the project. Their mission is ‘to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of people affected by cancer, more specifically during the entire period of their chemotherapy/radiotherapy treatment.’ They created a dedicated website for the project and which includes, of course, a press kit with the inevitable press release.
The video was created by the agency Leo Burnett France and a book was published with the pictures taken on the day. The video has become viral and has reached more than 15m views on Youtube. And of course, it is a great project and makes you smile when you watch it. But would it be as powerful if it had not been planned and created by PR professionals ? Of course, for the random person, this type of video is another viral video that you share with your friends because you like the message. For someone who knows the whole process behind it, it just shows that PR is at the center of every single type of activity nowadays. In fact, Cutlip and Center (2013, 11th ed.) go even further when saying that ‘One of the few generalizations in Public Relations is that an organization’s public reputation derives in substantial part from the behaviorof its senior officials. […] Thus, public relations is inescapably tied, by nature and by necessity, to top management, with public relations staff providing counsel and communication support.’
Which basically means that no organisation today can survive without PR practitioners. But is it really happening in real life ? And more importantly, what exact role do PR professionals hold within their organisation ? It seems to me that the importance of their profession and their influence upon the decision-making process is increasing by the day, and that people do not apprehend the major role that PR has in our society today.
Cutlip and Center (2013), Effective Public Relations, 11th ed.
Moloney, K (2006), Rethinking Public Relations, 2nd ed.
If only for a second Press Kit :