Reich Communications, Inc.

  • Reich Communications, Inc. is a boutique public relations agency in New York City offering full service in a variety of areas, with specializations in business-to-business; advertising, marketing and media firms; transportation safety; non-profits, and select consumer products and services. . . . For more info, call us at (212) 573-6000, email to or text to 914-325-9997. . We are located at 228 East 45th Street, Suite 11-South, in New York City 10017. . . . For some examples of our work, scroll down to "Categories" below and click on "What We Do..."

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    « U Nd 2 Improve Ur Writing Skills | Main | Feeding the PR stereotype »

    August 27, 2007


    Martin Calle

    PR Licensing Debate Ends Here

    I learned long ago not to inject myself into the solution of a marketing problem. The successful results found themselves in more annual reports. Unfortunately, I am unique. I was mentored in an answer finding technique that took the professionals out of the loop and inserted consumer minds instead. I say unfortunately because PR, advertising and marketing professionals are not schooled in the same technique, so have no recourse but to inject themselves, their opinions, their judgment and experience into the equation. And this historically represents a form of bias that has led many [solutions] astray.

    Contrary to popular practice, I am not schooled to ask questions. Market research asks questions, and as a result, question-based marketing leaves a lot to be desired. As Atticus Finch says in To Kill A Mockingbird, “You can’t ask a question you don’t already know the answer to.” It took me years to learn that “in asking a question, you don’t get the voice of the consumer, you get the voice of the inquirer through the question being asked – a form of bias that will lead you astray.” I rejected this learning like a bucking bronco until I had hit my head against the wall often enough with inferior solutions that I began to want the hurting to stop. I wondered why those adhering to the technique always experienced better fortunes.

    But PR, marketing and advertising professionals, without benefit of exposure to this learning process [homework] inject themselves and their experience into the equation. Less than optimum solutions ensue - Hence the call for licensing.

    Take the professionals out of the loop. Whenever there’s a problem - Mattel’s current China woes - Go to the consumer. Stimulate their minds so that a real product-based marketing solution to their concerns can be found. That way PR’s spin won’t be questioned. When someone tampered with Tylenol capsules, cyanide poisoning destroyed the brand. To be certain J&J and McNeil employed an army of PR professionals - all of whom failed to address consumer’s real concerns. We stimulated consumer minds and consumers created the concept for an inherently tamper-proof capsule. Tylenol Gelcaps rescued the 92% of capsule segment sales lost to cyanide tampering.

    I learned early on that no one cared what I thought. And no one cares what a CMO thinks if you are a consumer. The sooner advertising, PR and marketing professionals turn themselves into blank slates willing to learn rather than share their experience the faster the cries for licensing will subside. Fortunately, it did not take me a lifetime to get this one career’s worth of experience.

    I like your site a lot and am going to create a link on my blog, MADISON AVENUE:

    Do you think you could reciprocate?

    David Reich

    David: for your blog, if this is still an issue.

    This is, as that great philosopher Yogi Berra said, deja vu all over again. It seems incredulous that someone at PRSA would be advocating "certification" when, in fact, the Society's accreditation program was set up to counteract any movement toward licensing, which is what "certification" actually is.

    Several points: First amendment constitutional question. Who would administer it? Who would set up the tests and requirements to take the test? (PRSA accreditation doesn't fill the need because it only has impact with PRSA members, no one outside PRSA (and probably most within PRSA) don't know anything about it or what it means, the same as it's so-called Code of Ethics). Who really cares?

    Are large or small numbers of PR practitioners/professionals going to jail because of unscrupulous behavior violating (what?) laws? The only government restraint on the flow of information comes from the SEC regarding stock information.

    Would licensing extend to all personnel involved in communications -- journalists, marketing, sales promotion, and advertising?

    I could go on but this is a dead horse beaten to death by both sides of the issue over the last four decades, at least. PR personnel should accept the fact that their role is to present one side of the story -- their client's, their company's, their organization's, their government's, etc., -- and move on. No one ever said the PR presentation had to be balanced. Let the other "side" implement their own PR program. Your presentation should be truthful, but if you feel your company, client, whatever, is not honest with you, accept the fact and live with a guilty conscience or go get another job or find another client.

    As for PR for PR and what should PRSA's role be in advancing it, that is another story that PRSA has failed miserably over the years. PRSA has never had a clue what PR is all about, to begin with.

    Rocco Sacci
    once an accredited PRSA member, long time inactive knowing that membership meant absolutely nothing to either the profession or my career (and I also was employed at PRSA in the 70's).

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    Sandra Seth

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    Sandra Seth

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    Interesting post, so what do you think the effect of having to license the PR industry would be, improving success or just hindering the work of able PR workers?

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