Friday, December 08, 2006

"I'm in Public Relations."..."My relations are already a little too public." (Arrested Development Genuis)

Finally worked in an Arrested Development reference, C'mon!

A few points from the PR lecture of the last of the Reporters and the Reported series.

Simon Lewis was a jolly nice chap and managed to skilfully avoid answering most questions and yet convince us until after the lecture that he had answered them. One person tried asking the same question twice after he took her point of view apart the first time. Needless to say this didn't work and was rather amusing.

For me the most interesting point he raised was the idea of the difference between image and reputation. It's true, as he said, that repairing image, or changing image, is not too difficult. It's like people: a new scarf, a different hair cut, a fancy pair of shoes - the image is altered. But the reputation of that person is still the same. Beneath the image the reputation and this is far more important.

A company can cope from an image crisis. But it can rarely cope from a reputation crisis. Once people lose faith, they ain't going back.

As for the old "PR v Journalists" debate Simon was of the opinion we need to get along as we will be working closely along side one another and require each other in order to benefit the public. This sounds like a very fair way of viewing it. After the recent internet debates that took place on the PR thread I think we can all agree that this is a reasonable course of action.

And I think we need to understand that arguments and confrontation are not an inherently evil thing. Charles Reiss, the first of the R&R speakers (what a nice loop) was quite adamant that if you weren't having "blazing rows" with your contacts in the press offices then something was seriously wrong.

And just for the record I will never go back to Vodafone no matter how much good press they get. My personal opinion of their reputation is simply not good enough.

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