PR has definitely come a long way since its “birth” by the likes of Ivy Lee and Edward Bernays. It has become so crucial to the success of any business, campaign, brands, and people.
However, being important does not mean that it is properly understood or practiced correctly. The two main misconceptions that surround Public Relations are that PR is free, and that literally anyone can work in PR.
With regards to the first misconception, it is the main reason why not much attention and not sufficient funds and budgets are allocated for PR departments and their activities. Since senior management view PR as a complimentary activity, they expect that there are costs whatsoever incurred, which adversely affects the whole PR department, and frustrates PR professionals. When allocating budgets, PR should be taken into consideration just like other departments, in order for the department to be able to perform their tasks and achieve their objectives and KPO’s.
As for the belief that anyone can work in PR, of course we are not saying that you have to be born with a label stamped on your head that you are a PR person, but you cannot just hire anyone and expect them to execute PR related tasks just like that. Unfortunately, even PR “professionals” and so-called PR “consultancies” do that. They believe that after a few days of training, an employee can become a PR professional practitioner. This is very dangerous and unfortunately does not improve the reputation of PR in general in the region. Same as a hospital should hire a doctor with a proper medical degree and an impressive background, experience, and qualifications, the exact same thing should be applied when hiring a PR professional. Rome was not built in a day, and PR cannot be learned in a day either.
PR is and will continue to be the key to the success of any company, business, brand, public figure or campaign. The aforementioned misbeliefs put a damp on the success of PR, and PR is blamed for its weakness or uselessness, when in fact, companies and their senior management, as well as PR practitioners themselves should be more of aware to abandon and let go of these misconceptions, for better and more effective performance, and consequently, greater achievements.