Gini Dietrich

Self-Hating PR Pros and the Change in Industry

By: Gini Dietrich | September 5, 2012 | 

A few weeks ago I was in a meeting with a prospective client. At the end of the conversation, the chief marketing officer said, “I see you don’t refer to yourselves as PR pros… and your proposal doesn’t have any mention of it. Why is that?”

I explained that when people say they need a PR firm, they really mean they want someone to get them stories, which is an ego-driven metric, and only one tactic of a larger marketing and communications program.

Even though we were ending the meeting when she asked, we ended up talking for another 45 minutes about this new world we live in and what public relations really does for an organization. Which is much more than getting someone on the front page of The New York Times.

What is PR Anyway?

The PR industry has, for a very long time, used media relations as the example when describing what we do because it’s tangible. Just like you can hold or view an ad, you can hold or view a story a reporter has written or produced.

But while media relations is fantastic for brand awareness and credibility, it doesn’t drive business results unless it’s integrated with other tactics.

And using media relations as “the thing” the industry does is doing us a huge disservice.

There are many other tactics we use: Crisis planning, monitoring and listening, issues management, messaging, creating and telling stories, speaking engagements, content development, events, guerilla marketing, internal communication, social media, lobbying, audits, market research, community development, influencer relations, blogger relations, word of mouth, contests, trends development, and more.

Some of us even integrate what might be considered more traditional marketing: Database development, email, search engine optimization, trade shows, search engine marketing, inbound marketing, gamification, and mobile technology.

When you combine tactics such as these, you have an integrated marketing and communications program that drives results – real results such as improved margins, shortened sales cycles, and increased revenues.

Self-Hating PR Professionals

But even the new definition of PR that the Public Relations Society of America announced earlier this year doesn’t help the industry:

Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

It continues to refer to media relations as the only tactic in a communicator’s toolbox. It’s like saying you have to build a house with only one hammer.

So the industry has begun to see a move toward other descriptors of what we do (social media, marketing, integrated marketing communications). Meanwhile, many of us have stopped saying we do PR.

I grew up in a traditional PR firm but I’ve been smart enough to realize organizations will pay for your relationships with journalists only for so long. They soon want to know what’s next and how those relationships will help them grow a business.

That’s something most PR pros don’t know because it requires an understanding of how an organization makes money, the difference between a balance sheet and a P&L, and how margins affect profitability.

Those are things we’re not taught in school. And, unless you run the PR firm or start your own, the closest you’ll get in your career is managing a budget.

Let’s All Go to Business School

The fact of the matter is, PR pros need a business education. The major needs to move from the liberal arts college to the business school or at least require some business classes before graduation.

Sure, most PR pros are right brained. It’s essential to be creative enough to tell stories in compelling ways, to provide valuable information that helps others do their jobs, and to build relationships on behalf of organizations.

But the PR pro of tomorrow has to fight the black eye and learn everything they can about the business side of things. Otherwise they’ll always be known as media relations specialists. And that’s just not enough anymore.

A version of this first appeared on Sparksheet.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • thornley

    You are so right Gini. I started my PR firm in 1995. And we thrived with our traditional PR offerings through 2002. Then the world shifted – and kept shifting. Today, our hottest offering is video storytelling and production. That’s followed closely by design and online experiences. And then comes social media. Yes, we still offer traditional media relations (who doesn’t want to see their company positively mentioned in a national newspaper or trade mag?) However, the traditional are now part of an integrated offering that starts with discover and builds on this with strategies that are channel agnostic. Different things work in different contexts. And we need to be able to offer a complex solution. 
    That’s the new PR. However, do I refer to it as PR? Not often. In fact, I try to avoid using the term PR when talking to potential clients. All too often, I notice their unconscious tic when I say PR and they immediately summon up images of the PR as it was in the 90s. So, I use other terms like integration communications, communications for the connected era, delivering remarkable experiences. Anything to avoid being pigeon-holed with an outdated PR stereotype.

    •  @thornley That’s exactly what I was just saying to someone else in a different thread, Joe. It may very well be many PR pros already get this, but most clients do not. They still conjure up the days of getting on Oprah as their saving grace or, heck, the Mad Men days of creating a “controversy” in the grocery store over ham so people are inclined to buy. 

  • Jeffswildside

    @ginidietrich @spinsucks It’s so refreshing 2see an opinion of ur’s tweeted that’s not borrowed or RT’d. I didn’t, read it of course

  • Well. I don’t have to finish that half written blog post now. :). Well done.

    •  @Sean McGinnis Oh goodie!

      • W @ginidietrich as going to title it, “We’re not in Kansas anymore…” Now I can move onto much more important things. Whew. 🙂

  • ThePaulSutton

    Interesting. You’re not alone in ditching the term ‘PR’, although I think there’s still a very strong resistance from most agencies to moving away from it. PR is, after all, what they’ve always done. Where do they sit if they’re not a PR agency? And more to the point, prospective clients (at least in the UK) still search for PR agencies, not comms agencies.
    That said, I’m totally with you on this. For me, the term ‘PR’ is now almost derogatory because of the implications of what it means, which you point out eloquently above. It’s such a limiting descriptor that, personally speaking, I never use and hate it when my agency does.
    But I think the same goes for the term ‘storytelling’ and the description of what we do as ‘telling stories’. As a term, it’s meaningless. It has connotations of sitting in a classroom talking to 5 year olds. It’s the latest, greatest buzzword. And I don’t think it’s doing our industry any favours. Or is that just me?

    •  @ThePaulSutton I agree most clients search for PR firms…which is what SEO is for. 🙂 Let’s let the spiders do the job of helping prospects find us via the web and then we can do the part of educating them, once they land on our sites, of what it is we truly do. 
      The term “storytelling” bothers me because, to me, it feels like it fits the spin perception. But it also is pretty descriptive, particularly when talking about content creation that is not sales-y, but I haven’t figured out a different work to describe it. Yet.

      • ThePaulSutton

         @ginidietrich I think it’s the spin thing that I don’t like either. Got a half written post of my own on this topic. I recently did a competitor analysis for our agency and discovered that, virtually without exception, agencies (in the UK who I surveyed) refer to storytelling in one method or another. Whether it’s website or blog or Twitter or whatever. I don’t think clients know what it means (hell, half of the PR industry don’t know what it means) and it just smacks of bullshit. We ourselves are working on a different way of expressing this. It might take some time…

        •  @ThePaulSutton It’s definitely going to take some time, but I like where you’re headed.

        • magriebler

           @ginidietrich  @ThePaulSutton If you can imagine, I had “storyteller” as part of a job title in a former life and not once did I read a book to children sitting in a half circle on the floor. I finally convinced my boss to get it out of my title and off my business card so I didn’t have to keep turning down gigs at libraries, but in the meantime I did a lot of thinking about what it might mean and how it might direct my work.
          I got to the place fairly close to where @ginidietrich landed: it’s about identifying examples of customer/member experience that have authenticity and a clear, distinctive voice. Minimal polish and corporate BS (although always on message). With this interpretation it’s actually the polar opposite of spin. And social media was made for this understanding of storytelling.
          I suspect that “storytelling” ultimately falls into the category of jargon and that we need to be really careful how we use it with clients and most internal audiences. But used within a marcom team it can provide clarity and motivation. That was my experience.

        •  @magriebler  You had to turn down gigs at the library. LOL!!

        • magriebler

           @ginidietrich It was too bad. I can really wow those three-year-olds.

        • ThePaulSutton

          I totally agree,  @magriebler  I understand storytelling, you understand storytelling and @ginidietrich (probably 🙂 ) understands storytelling. But the library thing (love that!) illustrates perfectly what I mean. As a term for what we do or what it means in a marketing context, it’s BS. Although I may now change my job title from Head of Social Comms to Head of Storytelling just for laughs…

        • magriebler

           @ThePaulSutton  @ginidietrich Be careful. Your local library will be all over you if you do that.

  • I like what the PRSA is doing. Of all the Advertising Trade Orgs there is really only one I care to join and be a part of. the ARF (Advertising Research Foundation). the DMA. the AAAA’s. I really don’t care. Maybe one day I have to join because a client will require it. But I see often these trade groups aren’t really focused on their member’s clients as they should be…or their members…but the group itself. And that is where they start becoming meaningless. Go PRSA!

    •  @HowieG I’ve been a PRSA member my entire career and I’ve been pretty vocal about some of the changes it needs to make, particularly in some sort of regulation of the industry. But, overall, they do a very good job for their members.

  • This particular post is going to be required reading for my students this fall and spring. And it makes me think about how we’re teaching this stuff in schools. At the college where I teach in the spring, my social media class is within the marketing department and is primarily taken by marketing students. There is also a PR major within the communications department, and while I get a few students from there, I’m curious as to how this works itself down the line as we continue to separate these disciplines. Should there be a more interdisciplinary approach that merges marketing and communications? I know that the course I created and teach, while pigeon holed within the marketing discipline, is so much more. I think I need to process more of this and pitch the college on something new and different.

    •  @KenMueller Part of the problem, I think, is education still lumps sales and marketing together. And marketing is more than communications – it’s also about product and placement, which PR wouldn’t touch (at least not in the near future). I have to think about what the right educational track would be…this is good brain food for me.

      •  @ginidietrich It could be a really fun exercise. And it makes me wonder about the MBA programs at a lot of schools as well. 

        •  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich After having worked with a young MBA lately… I’m not sure $35,000 a year can teach inexperienced youth as much about marketing as the handful of blogs I subscribe to…

        •  @barrettrossie  @KenMueller HA!

        •  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich The $35K referred to tuition, natch.

        •  @barrettrossie  @KenMueller  @ginidietrich So. Dang. True. 

  • jfouts

    @geoffliving hmm. Have PR folk really stopped calling themselves that? Only the progressive ones?

    • geoffliving

      @jfouts I stopped in 2008/9. But I think there’s a larger discussion of PR being primarily earned media that the post missed.

  • Yes! PR pros need a business education. As do chiropractors and bakery shop owners and salon owners and all the others who have “technical” knowledge, but don’t necessarily know how to run a business that imparts that technical knowledge. It pains me to see people trained in a skill/profession with little to no training or education in business. I’ve dealt with business owners who can’t even read/understand their financial statements. So yes! We need to get to people in high school, long before college, and teach business basics. (and don’t even get me started on financial basics, like understanding how to save money, invest for the future, tithe, pay yourself first…basic financial savvy that should be taught, preferably at home but also in school. I’ll stop lest I really rant) Cheers! Kaarina

    •  @KDillabough I’m a great example of that. I went out on my own because I was really good at my craft and I knew there was a better way of doing things. But I had NO idea about running a business. It’s been really good for me, but it’s also been a very hard, and expensive, lesson.

      •  @ginidietrich I see many people who are skilled, proficient and passionate about what they do, strike out to run a business that does that “do”. If only our educational system would also include business training, at both high school and college level, that very hard, expensive lesson could at least be lessened. Experience is a great teacher, but having resources, support and business training can help avoid some of the inevitable bumps along the way.

    •  @KDillabough Why Kaarina, that sounds like like a book I’m reading!  Thanks for recommending E Myth. Why didn’t you recommend it to me 17 years ago?

      •  @barrettrossie I paraphrased Gerber’s statement: “Just because you know the technical work of a business does not mean that you can run a business that does that technical work.” I also love the:
        See young Sally bake pies.
        See young Sally open a pie-baking business.
        See young Sally become old Sally:(Wish I coulda’ been there for you 17 years ago! I’m still thinking we should do a he said/she said book review when you’re finished reading it:)

  • Love, love, love this post! I just had this conversation yesterday, literally, with a client who was quite upset with us because we didn’t gain them their ‘usual’ spot in the Sunday paper (Labor Day weekend, mind you) to promote their upcoming musical event this Saturday. I calmly tried to ask, “well, do you really think the 18 other measurable metrics we’ve accomplished for you will only work if that one article runs, on that one day, that is so crowded with festival nonsense, no one would read it anyway? Do you not think the other items we’ve accomplished for you, those items that helped surpass season ticket sales by 40% over last year, might have made a difference? Hmmm, I see your point, that press release really should have been in there!”  I’m smiling now as I read the article in today’s paper, with MUCH more attention than had it run when they wanted it.
    Geez. As she divulged their true business model to me, I was horrified. Even at max ticket sales, they won’t break even per performance. I’m running and working towards a goal that won’t work! It will help, but until the business model is adjusted to actually generate revenue, our good measures and outcomes will only get them so far. Yikes! That’s why I like to begin relationships with a strategic planning session to really delve into business goals in order to make sure our marketing and PR approaches support and promote them.  
    Sorry for the vent…it’s still fresh! 😉

    •  @EricaAllison That’s my girl. Preach it. 🙂 

    •  @EricaAllison This is a good combination with yesterday’s post. I’m thinking about offering performance-based pricing to a few clients, but this is one client I wouldn’t do it with…not if their business model doesn’t work. Unfortunately, these are the things you don’t find out until you really dig into someone’s business. 

  • ginidietrich

    @bhaines0 And SEO…

  • brianbreid

    This all kind of makes me sad. The “relations” part of “public relations” seems to be falling into disrepair. Technology has somehow convinced huge numbers of people that PR is infinitely scalable, and that if you send enough cookie-cutter emails to enough bloggers or get on the first SERP for your key search term or push your content though enough online channels, you’ll automatically succeed. 
    Too often left behind are those soft skills of building relationships and forging alliances, ensuring that the storytelling is aimed at people who are ready and willing to hear your narrative (and carry it on). This is in no small part because relationship-building doesn’t always look like billable work in the short term, no matter how impressive the long-term payoffs may be.
    (Caveat: I’m only talking about the self-hating part here. The you-should-know-the-business-of-your-business part is spot on …)

    •  @brianbreid I think you and I are having different conversations. I don’t disagree with you. What I don’t think, though, is it’s all about relationships. It’s part of what we do and people buy from people, but the relations piece isn’t what makes the phone ring or the register ring. But it’s the perception of people hiring PR pros that that’s what we do…and that we’ll do it immediately. If we’re focused solely on the relationships aspect, it takes a loooooong time to build those and, you’re right, they’re not scalable. But there is a lot more to it that, when combined with those relationships, *will* make the phone ring.

      • brianbreid

         @ginidietrich  @brianbreid Oh, I think you’re probably right that we’re talking past each other. But the idea that PR shouldn’t call itself PR is kind of a hobbyhorse of mine, so I felt compelled to go (slightly) off-topic. 
        The business/metrics question is a hard one. To take a recent example: the American Cancer Society blogged last week in support of Lance Armstrong. It was a sterling example of what a well-cultivated relationship can bring. That was a brave post, and one of great value to Livestrong. But it’s damn hard to measure that value. And that’s the nut that I would love to crack.  
        My issue is that instead of bearing down and trying to quantify the ROI of relationships (especially in this hyper-connected world), much of our industry is coming up with metrics (measurable!) that may or may not have any connection with real business results, and then building products and offerings on that shaky foundation. 

        •  @brianbreid I think the difference is ROI is return on investment…which means it has to relate to some sort of financial business goal. But there are also other things that go into it – such as brand awareness and credibility – that don’t have an ROI. Sometimes that’s just intuition (I know you’ve heard someone a time or two say they wish they were still doing PR because no one is talking about them anymore – duh) and sometimes companies spend tons of money on big brand awareness studies. 
          That’s why integration is so important. You need both: ROI *and* the other stuff that feels good but can’t be measured from a strict financial perspective. 

        • brianbreid

           @ginidietrichYou’re absolutely right. But I would still love to measure the feel-good stuff in dollars and cents. It’s not impossible (I bet you can put a financial figure on Netflix’s communication snafu last year), but it is very, very difficult. 

        •  @brianbreid Now THAT I agree with. Me too. Me too.

  • Pingback: Public Relations’ Identity Crisis | Pro PR()

  • Whew, I’ll bet you had to be quick on your feet to come up with all that, huh? I’ll also bet you were able to charge more after it was all said and done……
    Seriously, that did sound like a lot; does it take a ‘team’ to handle an account or do you assign a person? If you are that in-depth with an account, can a ‘team’ realistically handle multiple accounts? What is the saturation point where they are stretched so thin you actually see diminishing returns? 
    I know I work with ‘teams’ and depending on the activity required, I can tell real quick when changes need to be made. Because the 80/20 rule is very much applicable in my world; 20% of my customers make up 80% of my revenue, these are the people we REALLY pay attention to. To be able to do this, sometimes you have to cull ‘busy’ accounts that don’t produce enough revenue for the effort. That is why is incumbent upon us (me) to identify the ‘ideal’ customer that fits our profile. 

    •  @bdorman264 It definitely takes a team to manage an account. That’s the benefit of hiring an outside firm – you pay less than you would (in some cases) for one full-time employee, but get the advantage of having many brains thinking about your business.

  • cloudspark

    PR is so much more than just media relations: via @SpinSucks rt @allenmireles #pr

  • People all seem to like their world in pretty little boxes, and things go most strangely awry when they don’t get that. It’s gotten to the point where we seem to box ourselves in too. I’m hoping we’re at the leading edge of a culture change in which people are starting to see things from a fuller view.

    •  @Tinu Don’t get me wrong, I also love my life in a pretty little box. I love my routine and don’t do well when I’m interrupted. But I also see the necessity in growth…and sometimes that means hard change.

  • morriswm

    @shonali @ginidietrich Good thoughts. My only quibble is that I’m not sure that all biz schools can provide the writing skills needed.

    • shonali

      @morriswm @ginidietrich There’s probably no one school/type of school that can provide all the skills that are needed, right?

      • morriswm

        @shonali @ginidietrich Not unless they build a hybrid program. Perhaps next best would be for biz schools to encourage liberal arts minors.

        • shonali

          @morriswm Exactly. I do know that @PRSA has been working on incorporating PR into B-school syllabi @ginidietrich cc @arthury

    • ginidietrich

      @morriswm Especially now – it’s all about text writing @shonali

  • Why must you get so many comments on all your posts, it really takes too much of my morning each day…  
    I had the same problem with “ad agency” a while back. It was plain to see our industry shaking out: A very small group of traditional ad agencies were turning into Hollywood-style broadcast production companies, that are great at branding campaigns for major brands, but not for the kind of content development I was interested in. Meanwhile, some of the best ad agencies in the world were probably incapable of doing the things my clients were asking me to do.
    Example: There’s a nice little ad agency here in town that was talking to a local $25-million-in-revenues construction company that was going to double in size in the next year, and told them: There’s really nothing we can do for you. Wow. It was nice though, because the construction company hired me as a full-time consultant for a year. 
    @KDillaboughreally makes a good point when she says we have to be way more than technicians, we have to be business people. If we can’t analyze where our clients’ problems and opportunities, how can we in good faith recommend solutions? 

    •  @barrettrossie  Gone are the days of being OK with the idea that you can spend a dollar and know that 50 cents of it is working…you just don’t know which 50 cents. Gone are the days of working your journalist relationships in order to get stories placed so you can claim millions of media impressions. Unfortunately, the big firms (as you illustrated) are still doing it this way so we’re definitely slogging slowly uphill. 

  • jamiepachomski

    Will #nextgen #PR pros overcome forever-like tactician stigma? Story via @ginidietrich: #publicrelations

  • commanderbroadside

    God, take this screen away from me,
    I can’t hack it any more,
    There’s so little more to see,
    And my eyes have turned too sore,
    Knock, knock, knocking on Clients’ door…..
    Ain’t gonna write releases no more……
    The keyboard’s turned into a drag….
    And I’ll soon wind up as a rag.

    •  @commanderbroadside I have no idea what to say.

      •  @ginidietrich  @commanderbroadside Say this:
        “Read my book, dude, and free your soul
        Enjoy a comprehensive marketing role, and drift away”
        –Jelena Woehr, Vice President of Classic Rock Parody and Beneficial Tapeworm Distribution, Arment Dietrich, Inc.

    •  @commanderbroadside @ginidietrich @jelenawoehr 
      How many pubs must we wine and dine
      Before we at last take a stand?
      How many times must we pimp the same old line
      Until we establish your brand?
      Yes and how many contracts must our agency sign
      Before a high price we command?
      Your press release my friend, 
      Is blowin’ in the wind,
      Your press release is blowin’ in the wind.
      Thank you, thank you very much, you’re a great audience. 

  • samraatkakkar

    @ancitasatija should be fun to watch this evolvement happen in India 🙂

    • ancitasatija

      @samraatkakkar hahha..I know…I will face the heat for a while I’m sure lol :p …you have fun watching hehehhe

  • Hey Gini,
    Okay, you DO know I’m knew-ish here. But the topics you discuss are not at all new … still quite fascinating. I mean, it’s all about honesty and integrity (at least on the base level.) But, you’re going way beyond this.
    So, you’re saying you’re not REALLY in PR. You’re a Business Consultant, a Marketing Consultant, maybe even a Financial Adviser of sorts? It would seem that this Public Relations business is passe’. Will this PR business go away? Will PR firms become Business Consultants or will BC’s add PR to the mix? Are you calling for the spawning of a new industry (and education) or just some tweaking?
    Would love to hear from you Gini … or any of you other professionals here! (what a great group.) 

    • FashionistaChik

       @Carmelo I don’t think he’s calling for a new industry, I think savvy consumers determine the climate. 

    •  @Carmelo I don’t know the answers to your questions. The big firms still thrive very much in the PR world. Some are adding digital capabilities (Edelman has 80 people worldwide focused on this, a very small percentage of their total employee base), but they’re doing so as add-ons, not as an industry change. It reminds me of the early 00s when PR firms were adding design and web capabilities so they didn’t have to outsource those things. So I don’t think the industry is going anywhere. But I do think the smaller firms (like us) have a huge opportunity to lead the charge for change.

      •  @ginidietrich Yes, yes. Okay, thanks. Well, that’s great, then. Onward, Gini! Kick some butt.

  • BalbinasDrapes


  • Hoo Gini. I think you stepped on some toes with this one. But, coming from someone who recently chose a comprehensive business degree (Organizational Leadership) over specializing in PR or Marketing, you’re totally right. I read the other day that CMOs have the shortest average tenure of any C-level position, because if the business goes downhill, the CMO goes out the door. That alone should say something about what companies expect from anyone who is part of the marketing organization: Revenue.
    I’ve seen respected colleagues laid off because they didn’t get results, and as they go out the door, they’re still saying, “But I was building relationships!” It’s SAD that building relationships isn’t enough anymore, but that’s the pace of the world we live in. Companies come and go faster, roles change, technologies change, and sometimes you can get more results from one lucky tweet than from years of coddling a relationship. I would really like to live in a world where every company is happy to pay a few super-creative people for just being super-creative and awesome, whether or not they have any idea how much money their work is or isn’t making for the company, but even Apple doesn’t pay for creativity without results, as far as I can tell.

    • donbart

       @jelenawoehr Building relationships should be thought of as a strategy, not the end goal. People can and should be measured on the results, not the path the attempted to take to get there. Building relationships was never enough – necessary perhaps but not sufficient.  -@Donbart

    •  @jelenawoehr I don’t disagree there should be (and are) people who paid to be super creative. Those people are usually in the creative departments of ad agencies and they’re backed up by account managers who know how to place the ads in the right spots in order to create results. 

  • rdopping

    Or build strategic partnerships with the right people. DIY is not always the best way to tackle a business.
    I know, I know, it’s not that easy but if you think about it since PR people are right brain and really good at crafting a strategic direction for a companies communication plan and an MBA is left brain and can craft a really good management strategy then why would you want each to the other’s job?Sure the lines can cross an you can learn from each other but you are specialists and need each other to create a holistic plan for your clients.
    This is a passion for me because architecture works in the same way. Great architects are lousy business people (usually). So many do not realize that and try to “learn it all” usually to their own detriment. Then they wonder why the next guy is way ahead.
    I say do what you are good at and align yourself strategically with the right complimentary skill sets. Why can’t we all just get along? 

    •  @rdopping I’m not sure it’s about wanting the other person’s job. I have no desire to do product placement or planograms inside the big box stores. Ew. But I do see a huge need to understand how a business makes its money, if only so we can measure our effectiveness. Too long the PR industry has gotten by with measuring media impressions, which mean NOTHING. But it’s the standard metric because the industry has always used the excuse that you can’t measure PR and that we’re right-brained. That’s baloney.
      I also recognize the fact that I am left-brained in a right-brained industry. Perhaps I’m asking too much of my peers? Maybe I’m asking them to do something akin to them asking me to paint the next Monet.

      • rdopping

         @ginidietrich I hear you and believe me I get it. I deal with true right brain people all day and y job is to make them effective. It’s like coddling babies half the time.
        All I was suggesting was that if you have the type of skills to help you sort out the metrics you need to change the way you do your job then you may be better off. So, if you want to understand how a business operates then hire an MBA to help you sort it through. That way you can focus on what you are good at and get a deeper understanding of business ops without having to devote as much time to it. Yes, yes, a perfect world scenario.

  • jgombita

    Why do you say that @donbart @RTRViews? And I’ve been promoting the use of “organizational narrative” (instead of storytelling) for 1 yr +.

    • donbart

      @jgombita @RTRViews I’m with Gina & Rick on media relations focus, etc. Not sure ‘story telling’ is big enough either. I do like Org Nar

      • jgombita

        It was only in my TWELFTH “Bytes from the PR Sphere” column (on Windmill Networking) that I did my JOURNALIST Byte @donbart @RTRViews….

      • jgombita

        BTW @donbart @RTRViews I really don’t see WHERE in @PRSA’s definition of public relations does it talk about “media relations.” Big HUH?!

      • Lancew3oms
  • jasonkonopinski

    @ginidietrich TODAY!!!!

  • Kristinesimpson

    @ginidietrich Because I describe myself as a young PR pro 😉 cc @YoungPRPros

  • demokrathayvan

    @crystweet Greetings from a friend from the Batman 2009 Project 😉

    • crystweet

      @demokrathayvan Hi! Time goes by so fast! Greetings! 🙂

      • demokrathayvan

        @crystweet Any idea who I am? Follow, so that I can write a DM.

        • crystweet

          @demokrathayvan I have a few options but I’m relaying on your DM.

  • JerrySchram

    @ginidietrich Well said, Gini.

    • ginidietrich

      @JerrySchram Thanks!

  • JoelFortner

    @ginidietrich Loved this. And totally agree. Grade A perspective.

    • ginidietrich

      @JoelFortner I feel like I forgot to answer your syrup question about @allenmireles. She’s good. She likes the real stuff.

      • JoelFortner

        @ginidietrich Well that’s a relief! @allenmireles

        • allenmireles

          @JoelFortner Hey Joel. Nice to meet you . Yep, only the good stuff. Please and thank you. 😉

        • JoelFortner

          @allenmireles We can be friends now! Congrats on joining AD. I’m a big Gini fan.

        • allenmireles

          @JoelFortner thank you. And I am too. 😉

  • mitchellfriedmn

    @ginidietrich Yet another reason why we are kindred spirits; PR people need to understand business. YES!! Why I work for MBA programs!

    • ginidietrich

      @mitchellfriedmn You should see some of the comments I’ve gotten today. Not everyone agrees.

      • mitchellfriedmn

        @ginidietrich Not at all surprised. Why the profession continues to suffer (in my not so humble opinion).

      • mitchellfriedmn

        @ginidietrich Tells me I need to write up presentation (referencing you & @dbreakenridge) about PR person as trusted adviser.

        • ginidietrich

          @mitchellfriedmn Ohhhh. You should do that!

        • mitchellfriedmn

          @ginidietrich Need to do that to get everyone riled up once again.

        • dbreakenridge

          @mitchellfriedmn I’ll have to thank my friend @ginidietrich f/mentioning me. PR person = trusted adviser 🙂 Looking forward to hearing more.

  • ginidietrich

    @ForthMetrics Thank you!

  • I, like you, struggle with the fact some people think PR is all about media relations. Where we differ  is whether it’s most/many/few/some. I like to think that many PR pros understand there’s a lot more to PR than media relations. I also don’t really see how the new PRSA definition discusses media relations. The fact is doesn’t is one of the things I liked about it a lot. There are so many ways we can build mutually beneficial relationships without doing media relations. 
    The part about understanding business is critical and something I’ve heard a lot about for years. If we, as professionals, don’t understand what our CEOs are saying, we can’t possibly help them create “mutually beneficial relationships with our publics.” As strongly as I believe we need to understand the language of business, the reverse is also true. MBA programs should include classes around public relations so their graduates understand the role of communications in their businesses success. It’s taken years but PRSA has been working with MBA programs ( to begin offering those programs. I think it’s a step in the right direction, and hope others will start learning these lessons too.
    Thanks for raising the profile of this issue again. 

    •  @mdbarber I’m pretty pleased with the work PRSA is doing to get into the MBA programs. Perhaps it’s baby steps, but it’s definitely headed in the right direction. Unfortunately, though, I don’t things really begin to change until the global PR firms change. And, right now, they’re not willing (or able?).

  • UffeErupLarsen

    @MTonnheim thanks for the retweet. 😉

  • Patrick Strother

    Agree entirely with this blog. I often tell prospects and clients that: “We are business people first.”
    Our agency was started 20 years ago based entirely on the premise of the value of integrated communications. People generally shorthand us as a PR firm, which doesn’t really bother me as long as we get to define what that means for us and our clients. We’re basically driven by creating value by out-communicating our clients’ competition, with the purpose of easing the selling process, providing margin support and fostering stronger sales growth.
    In other words, we get our business objectives, then develop a strategy to achieve them. The advantage of integration is that you have many tools to select from which improves both efficiency and effectiveness.
    I can’t comment on the overall value of an MBA to the economy, but I know for certain it has been enormously valuable to me, our agency and our clients.

    •  @Patrick Strother I think that’s the big difference, Patrick. You understand how a business works. You understand how to read financial documents. You understand how an organization makes money. Without an intimate knowledge of those things, it’s pretty difficult to really affect a business’s growth.

  • PatrickStrother

    RT @ginidietrich Why #PR needs to get down to business #cases4259

  • brilliantfork

    @ginidietrich oximoronic …

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  • Gini,
    Your blog post caught my attention, not only because you reference PRSA but also because you discuss two issues that are important to the organization.
    Good news regarding your mention of the need for public relations to be taught in B-schools is spot on:  We not only agree, we’re working on it!  In fact, in June we announced our new MBA Initiative which is a multi-year effort to advocate for the inclusion of strategic communication and reputation management in MBA programs. PRSA has partnered with five business schools – Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Quinnipiac University’s School of Business and the University of Text at El Paso’s College of Business Administration – all of which will begin teaching a course as part of their MBA curricula this academic year.  The initiative has drawn strong interest from both students and educators, and received positive press from outlets such as U.S. News, BusinessWeek, FoxNews, ABC News, PRWeek and PRNewser. Getting to this point took a couple of years and a lot of legwork – research, curriculum assessments, navigating the world of academia – but we’re already getting inquiries from other schools who want to join the effort.
    Regarding the PRDefined campaign, as you point out, the public relations industry is dynamic and continues to evolve as technology changes, which is why we’re keeping an open mind about potential next steps down the road.  Our intention, as stated on the PRSAY blog, is to keep the conversation on-going within the industry to help provide professionals of all backgrounds with a better understanding of the vast array of services practitioners provide.  We’ll keep your comments in mind.
    Stephanie Cegielski, Associate Director of Public Relations for the Public Relations Society of America

    •  @cegielski Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie! It makes me happy to know PRSA is working with MBA programs. I really hope this helps our young professionals!

  • ginidietrich

    @alyciaedgar Thank you!

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