Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
By: Ekrem Dupanović, firstname.lastname@example.org
I admit, I’m in an all-out war with PR and PR folk. There’s a lot of things I dislike, and most of all the fact that they don’t know how to do their job. Almost no one from the PR industry is doing their job properly in communicating with the media. I would be hardly pressed to single out an agency deserving of the grade ‘good – 3’. In companies, among those who deal with corporate PR, I would give everyone a 1, and maybe a 2 here and there. I have the right to assess them, because in my job I meet daily with dozens of news and press releases that I get from PR people. I write from my own experience of an editor who manages a daily portal. Every day I lose at least two hours of time (which I don’t have) on the improvement of poorly written press releases, and on deleting the texts that are not intended for our audience. As soon as I get a text, where I see at the top of the document, in large letters, PRESS RELEASE, I know it was written by a trainee. For whom would it be other than for press? The only question is, for what kind of press and audience? Is a press release on commissioning a new production line at a dairy farm, or about the allocation of humanitarian aid to socially vulnerable population, intended for the advertising public to which we are dedicated? Or do agencies have a single mailing list of media by which they send press releases, without bothering to look what is the demographic that a certain media covers?
All press releases, as a rule, in its header, are decorated like a Christmas tree with logos of the agency that is sending the press release, the client for whom they are sending it, and the brand which is being talked about. Very often these logos are placed in the document as an image so that they can’t be deleted but you have to copy the text and move it into a new document so you could work on it. All this is unnecessary waste of time. That’s why texts often end up in the trash bin with an editor who doesn’t have the time to deal with it. And they probably would have published the news, had it not been that much of a torture. Such decorating of news just proves that the one who wrote it has an infinite amount of time, because they do nothing. So when some chore falls in their lap, they plaster nice logos, move the margins, determine what will be in italic, what bold, and which words should be underlined and so on. They are not the ones who determine the text styles! Each media house has its own rules. And instead of giving the media a clean text to arrange for their standards, journalists and editors must deal with arranging served styles that someone determined out of pure boredom.
Photos are a whole story in their own right. They are mostly of poor quality, taken with a cell phone or a potato, and say nothing or very little. We recently got a press release from a promotion of a product, with a dozen photos – not a single one showing the product. You really have to be a genius to do it like that. And the product is like made for snapping photos. It’s something to lick, nibble, it releases juices (it’s not what you think), and offers itself for beautiful pictures.
How the crisis that affected the budget cuts came to be? Well clients threw themselves into the arms of PR that costs less. That’s not a problem. The problem is that the texts became such – ad-like. There is very little real information, and it’s too much text for a classic ad. Clients dictate, agencies listen, juniors write. So go figure how much effort and time is needed to prepare a text for publication so that anyone who reads it won’t think that you collected at least 500 euros to publish it.
Still, it’s the worst with corporate PR. The bigger the company the more complicated the PR is. I just don’t know when and how did PR gained such a monopolistic position in the companies, making it impossible to do anything without them. Every owner of a private company can independently decide on the investment of ten million euros, but they can’t give an interview for Media Marketing without their PR person. And then, when we send the questions, there is first three days of silence: the PR guy is hard at thinking. He propped his head on his hands and contemplates. Then he starts writing the answers, but it takes days. Finally, when he makes it all spiffy clean, he takes it to the boss to read it. All the interviews that we’ve been doing so far are the same. Same story, same vocabulary, the same response structure. Recently at the PRO.PR conference in Budva I held a speech about my experiences with PR. In the audience were about 150 PRs. I told them everything I have written here. I told them to their face. And worse. Finally, I offered a bet. I said: “You select five major companies in the region whose presidents you would propose for interviews on the MM portal. First I will write all of their interviews – the answers and the whole story. I will collect the information I need about the company from the Internet (number of employees, turnover, scope of business…).
When I write all the interviews, and I guarantee I’ll finish them in two days, we’ll put them in envelopes and give them to someone for safekeeping. Then we’ll send questions to the interviewees, or rather their PR managers, who will eventually end up doing them anyway. And then we will wait about 15 days to get the responses. When we receive them, we will compare the responses to the interviews I did and placed in envelopes. If their answers don’t match mine in at least 75%, I lose the bet.” And I offered 500 euros to anyone who beats me. It’s all the same bs stories, all the same empty words and expressions. The same head and the same tail. No one in the hall accepted my challenge. Some probably thought I was mad. It was near the end of my lecture. I got quite an applause, and then, during a coffee, couple dozens of them came to me saying that I was right about everything I said.
We live on information. It’s our only currency. Without information there is no portal. Without portal, I’m off to retirement, and it’s time for me to go. So we need PR agencies and PR monsters in companies. But it would be a lot more creative and exciting if they were at least a little more literate and more committed to the work they do. Nothing good will come of PR as long as they listen to the “big” minds of the West, like the one in Budva who gave a lecture on the PR agency of the future and concluded his speech with an ingenious conclusion that PR folk, in order to be successful in the future, must be creative and innovative. Well, duh.
Our biggest problem are the advertising agencies. We should have every good campaign within 24 hours from the time of its launch. We are a daily portal. A campaign starts, tens of thousands of euros were already invested in its production, hundreds of thousands in the media buying, but the news about the campaign with the team that worked on it can’t be on the MM portal without the consent of the client, which takes days to obtain. This fear in which advertising agencies live I haven’t seen even in movies.