Perhaps you may have seen the advert that circulated last week, showing a woman switching jobs from PR to work for a charity, which was labeled with having ‘more purpose’.
As you can imagine, this caused widespread annoyance as it was coming across that the charity were insinuating that PR wasn’t a very purposeful job. Does PR have no purpose? Is it not useful for anything? Should all of us PRs be quitting our jobs to go and work in something with more meaning and fulfillment?
I may not be a PR professional just yet, but I do know that PR holds a lot of purpose for those who carry out the work and for those who receive it. All you have to do is ask companies that have gone through major crises. Who do you think is the first person they go to for help? Their PR of course. But is that the only use for PR? To get someone or something out of a sticky situation?
Well maybe if your name is Liam Neeson.
The role of a PR
Ok, maybe we aren’t solving global warming or ending world poverty but most of what we do is for the benefit of other people. A PR tries to get coverage and press for their clients, not for themselves. They aim to secure free press and thus bring in business for the client in question, trying to make their client more profitable. So you could say we’re a very giving industry. Our job is to benefit others.
If the charity wishes to talk about roles that require more purpose, then I’m sure there are others they could choose from. However, don’t all jobs have a purpose? Otherwise there wouldn’t really be any need for the job at hand, would there? Doctors, postmen, waitresses, lawyers all have a purpose. And believe it or not, so do people that work in PR.
The charity defended their post saying that the wording was taken the wrong way and maybe they could have written it differently. I don’t really know how else I’m meant to interpret ‘…transferring her skills to a job with more of a purpose’ other than the way that it’s written?
During my placement year – I know, I don’t shut up about it, do I? – I woke up every morning and looked forward to going to work. I loved my job. There’s not very many people out there who can say that without gritted teeth, but I genuinely had such a passion for my job.
I was working in cosmetics, fragrance and skincare and to some, this may not be the most thrilling job in the world or one with much purpose, but for me, it consumed me. I had such a passion for my job and always wanted to secure as much coverage as possible and help make each launch the best yet.
I wasn’t curing cancer and neither was I saving the rainforests but I was promoting products that made people feel better about themselves and that sent out inspiring messages to consumers.
For example, I was a major fan of philosophy skincare and believe their ranges to be some of the best skincare products I’ve ever used. Their ingredients are natural and minimal and the brand ethos is for the users of their products to find the pureness within themselves and to feel good in their own skin. When we launched Calvin Klein Women, it couldn’t have come at a better time with the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up. It was an incredibly empowering and motivating campaign, telling all girls and women that we can be anything that we want to be; there’s nothing stopping us.
One size does not fit all
When it comes to a career in PR, you could choose to work in almost anything. Any sector, any industry and anything that involves communication. Saying that PR has no purpose just doesn’t make any sense. Sure, in your personal opinion, some PR jobs might have more purpose than others but that is dependent on the individual’s opinion. It’s your ethics, your morals and your own beliefs.
I believe my Internal Comms role has a purpose to promote a greater place to work and to make the company somewhere all employees love working. My Influencer Marketing role had a purpose to create brand awareness through online and social media Influencers, which to some might seem a little materialistic, but there was a purpose to it.
We all have a purpose in life and we’re very lucky if we discover it. I know I’ve found my purpose and it’s to follow a career in Public Relations. I’m not confident which sector I’m destined to work in, but I’m trying to discover which fills me with the most passion. If I wake up and look forward to going to work and love what I do, then I know I’ve found my purpose in life. (Career-wise anyway, as I don’t believe our sole purpose in life is to work, work, work.)
PR often gets a bad rap, but we’re not all mini Max Cliffords you know.