Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Stereotypes of Corporate PR

While many assume that all PR professionals practice the profession in the same way, nothing could be further from the truth. While we all share many similar daily tasks, such as writing or monitoring press, our day-to-activities differ based on our industry of choice. The PR professional who works for a boutique fashion public relations agency in a big city likely has a different experience than the PR professional who works for a large pharmaceutical company.

Our varying experiences are what make public relations such a unique and exciting field. As PR professionals, we are able to find our small niche in the huge ocean of skill sets and talents that make up our blossoming and ever growing industry. However, though we like to believe we can, no PR professional can experience every aspect of the industry. We play to our strong suits, and go for the areas of PR most appealing and interesting to us.

So, what about all of the other areas of PR that we don’t get to experience? Well, if you’re anything like me, you likely generalize, speculate, and sadly, stereotype that field. We make assumptions based on what we think it would be like to work in those jobs.

Over the years, I’ve held various internships, all in the lifestyle or non-profit sectors of PR. I’ve loved every project and client I’ve gotten to assist with, and definitely found my niche. I know that I enjoy these areas because I’ve actually had the chance to experience them for myself. I’ve always attested that I would never want to work in corporate communications. My reasoning behind this assertion, of course, was based deeply on assumptions and stereotypes. It wasn’t until I had the chance to hear from someone who works in corporate communications that I realized I may be jumping the gun with my judgments.

Here are 4 stereotypes I held about the corporate PR world: 

1. Corporate PR really just means covering up the scandals of top level CEOs. The sentiment that the corporate world is held by many non-corporate professionals. We take what we've heard about one group of people, and apply it to the masses. Not every company is comprised of these "bad apples."

2. There is no sense of true fulfillment in the corporate world. Because everyone is busy either contributing to or covering up all of those scandals right? No, wrong! The bottom line is, fulfillment comes from knowing that you are using your talents in a way that benefits someone or something in the best way possible. You don't have to be an entrepreneur or freelancer to know this feeling. Many larger corporations work hard to support the interest of their customers and employees, even going as far to support numerous philanthropic causes.

3. Everyone who works in a corporate environment only cares about the bigger salary. All companies have a mission and vision, and there employees should always be people who believe that they would be best to carry out that mission and vision. Are the big bucks in corporate PR? Sure. But assuming that the money is the only thing that would draw someone is pretty ridiculous.

4. Every corporation is the same. The same way that every PR professional works to find their niche, companies are also doing the same. We are so quick to place everyone under the large masking umbrella of "the corporate world" that we forget about the uniqueness and individuality each company has to offer.

Do you find yourself stereotyping or generalizing other industries? What assumptions have you made? What assumptions do you think other professionals make about your industry?

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