My academic (albeit brief) and professional encounters with public relations and communication theory in a broader sense occasionally have left an itching about the image of that field itself. Transparent, targeted communications and some really smart people who know how to make it happen are often overshadowed by the common associations to long-legged blondes from beauty pageants and talking black into white.
Once I met a British colleague at a dinner table who said that he would like to do the “real thing” from time to time, “not just PR, because PR is about painting things”. I felt both sorry for him and angry because this is what most people think of PR. Our profession is flooded with too many persons who have built their careers on polishing what they or their clients “seem to be” and not developing what they “really are”. As many of them will not be able to reorient themselves towards different kind of professionalism, they will continue dragging the industry to the depths of disrespect.
I couldn’t agree more with (almost all of) his views on status quo and way forward.
Besides the communications consultancy story, he is also observing an interesting trend from the product marketing world. Some of the most desirable objects you own (or still lust for) don’t carry a logo any more. A product becomes the brand. If this alone doesn’t change the communication requirements, I don’t know what does.