Don’t believe all the lies they tell you about PR girls or men, we are very powerful. If you’ve ever had the time to delve into the madness portrayed by the fierce Elizabeth Sloane in the movie, Miss Sloane, you will believe me when I tell you that PR people rule the world today and Nigeria is not exempted no matter how poorly rated the country may seem.
Public relations professionals literally control a lot of things you see in the media today. Whether it is radio, TV, newspapers, social media, online communities and websites, and so on, we manage everything, know everything, see everything. We are everywhere, yet our lives are so secret. But as Sir John Dalberg-Acton once implied, having absolute power must be well managed or it will corrupt absolutely and that is the responsibility we must carry on our shoulders every day.
Definitely, as professionals, we have the power of connecting people from all walks of life. Clients ask us to recommend agencies, managers tell us to bid celebrities for campaigns, celebrities seek our support for brand endorsement deals, agencies rely on us to make them a lot of money and the list goes on.
A true PR professional must be conscious of the power wielded. This is why at all times, a good professional must have a thick skin because we get shut down often by criticism. Scott Signore once stated, “We enjoy much strategic and tactical success when working with clients, we also get shot down presenting ideas for new programs or programmatic approaches”. It’s really an integral part of the job so we cannot afford to react short-sightedly to remarks from the media, clients even our line heads and managers.
Influencers, celebrities, clients, managers, agencies, the media, and so on who continue to give us this power must be very careful with how we are managed. You don’t want to go to an event and insult an already overworked PR girl with your actions or words, ‘Omo you don cast be that’. The lady can as well give you a bad review next time she finds herself in the position to recommend you to your ‘helpers’.
A popular celebrity (name withheld) I worked with recently lost her value in the marketing industry just because her manager was rude to a group of PR professionals. The Manager was quite a handful. She made several (not just one) remarks insinuating that PR managers are incompetent and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. ‘Out’, the PR group chanted and the entire industry boycotted the celebrity. Now the said celebrity needs to spend extra money, (which she doesn’t have) to pay a PR Manager to redeem her image from the industry floor. Still wondering what happened to those influencers that we no longer remember?
When next you find a ‘small girl’ with a laptop in front of her, typing away a list of names or working on a plan or budget, respect her because she can make or mar your career with a single word. But what do I know? I’m just another ‘small girl’ with big dreams in Lagos.
• Bonuola is a Senior PR and Marketing Communications Consultant in Lagos.