A tale as old as a donkey

What is PR? It was a question that was asked during today’s PRCA 2018 conference. There was no clear definition as everyone working in the industry would have a slightly different view. And if we can’t agree then how are those who employ us supposed to understand what we do?

I have had a week that has had its usual ups and downs. It also had its usual frustrating moments that were caused by demands for work that was about just doing stuff and hoping for the best.

Now let me introduce you to an important creature. Over there is a donkey and the poor creature needs a tail. Thankfully you are the person who can sort this out because you have a tail in your hand. You know how to make tails which will be helpful to other donkeys in need.

To sort this situation out you could study the donkey his physique, his anatomy and where his problem is and then devise a targeted plan to rectify the situation. The result is success and a happy donkey.

Or you could ditch that idea and close your eyes and just start throwing tails towards the donkey in the hope that one might stick. The result is likely to be the status quo and a tailless donkey unless you have a lucky fluke.

It is what we are doing if we set about providing a PR campaign or some communication without understanding the data and insight. If we don’t have the what, where, when and why then we are closing our eyes and just hoping it works.

We need to stand up and challenge those who ask us to do work without this information. We have to break the cycle of being busy with no idea whether we are being successful.

So the next time you are asked to just PR something or to do stuff think of that donkey and make sure you are working to put the tail where it needs to be.

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