Story of the Storytellers!

How many of us in communications have had a hard time explaining our families and friends, what we do? And how many times we give up and end up saying, just know it is something related to media! 😊

Here is my attempt to tell the story of the storytellers. To answer this eternal question, ‘So, exactly what do you do?’ !

In the complex world of communication, the question “What do you exactly do?” often leaves us fumbling for an accurate, concise explanation which will not further confuse our questioner. This isn’t because we’re unsure of our roles, but rather because public relations is not one technical skill driven profession. It is not a simple explanation as a doctor or an engineer or even an MBA (Masters in Business Administration). 

PR is a multifaceted profession that defies a simple explanation. It’s a blend of art and science, strategy and creativity, precision and adaptability, all coming together to manage perceptions, protect reputations, build meaningful relationships and create awareness. 

While delivering an elevator pitch on PR, the depth of our work is often lost, reduced to the misperception of spinning stories or sometimes organising events. When on the contrary, our work is far more complex. Our roles demand more than just crafting press releases or organising press conferences; we’re tasked with building and protecting brands in an era where public sentiment can shift with a single tweet. This requires a deep understanding of not just media relations, but also digital marketing, content creation, social media engagement and the most important of all, our DIVERSE AUDIENCE. 

Here are some aspects of a PR job that go beyond stereotypes of the profession:

  1. Business Objectives: PR professionals are instrumental in aligning communication strategies with the broader business goals of an organisation. For example, when a company launches a new product, PR teams craft narratives that not only highlight the product’s features but also how it fits into the company’s mission and the market’s current needs. This strategic positioning helps in creating a market demand, attracting potential investors, and fostering partnerships.
  2. Brand Equity: In today’s digital age, a brand’s reputation can be its strongest asset or its biggest liability. PR professionals strategically manage this reputation through proactive storytelling and crisis management. For instance, when a company faces a potential scandal, PR teams work swiftly to control the narrative, communicate transparently with stakeholders, and mitigate any damage. This strategic approach preserves brand equity and maintains trust with consumers.
  3. Market Analysis: PR is not just about pushing out information; it’s about listening and adapting to the market. PR professionals use tools and analytics to gauge public sentiment, identify emerging trends, and advise companies on how to pivot their strategies accordingly. For example, if environmental sustainability becomes a hot topic among consumers, PR teams might guide a company to highlight their ESG reporting, sustainability commitments, aligning the brand with expectations to their consumers.
  4. Social Change: PR is a powerful tool for advocacy and driving social change. By amplifying the voices of social organisations, PR professionals can bring critical issues to the forefront of public discourse. For instance, a campaign designed to highlight social injustice can mobilise public support, influence policy changes, and bring about meaningful changes in the society.
  5. Community Relations: PR professionals foster relationships between businesses and their communities by organising community outreach programs, charity events, or sponsorships that benefit local groups. These initiatives not only help in building a positive brand image but also contribute to the well-being of the community, demonstrating a company’s commitment to more than just profit.

So, the next time someone asks, “What do you exactly do?” take it as an opportunity to shed light on the complex art of PR. It’s our moment to explain that we’re not just the people behind the press releases, but the ones who navigate the dynamics of public opinion, build brand reputation, and inform narratives that shape our society.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Payal Raj
Payal has 15 years of global communications and advocacy experience, covering broadcast business news, journalism, media relations, public affairs, and sustainability communications. She's worked across Asia, Europe, and North America. Currently, as Senior Manager of Sustainability Communications at Mars Pet Nutrition, North America, Payal's expertise encompasses strategic communications, crisis management, issues advocacy, and stakeholder engagement. Her blog provides a global perspective on PR trends and challenges, reflecting her diverse industry background.

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