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  • Suzi Christie

PR isn’t about ego

David Bowie once sang: “Fame, puts you there where things are hollow.” Since this was co-written with John Lennon, we must assume they knew a thing or two about the real value of fame.


So, if fame is hollow, why do people still seek it?


What do you want from PR?


Several years ago, I was on a freelance PR forum. One of the participants had uploaded the following response to the question, ‘Which PR service(s) do you need?’


“Raise brand awareness, Generate new customers, Generate press coverage, Manage social media channels, Strategic planning, Reputation management, Corporate communications, Press office, I’m looking for guidance from the Pro.” (sic.)


An exhaustive list but, if the client is willing to pay the money, these are not unreasonable demands. It would be remis of me not to point out that technically PR doesn’t generate new customers, it raises brand awareness so that new customers can be generated by the sales team.


The alarm bells start to really ring with the answer to the second question – ‘Please describe your PR requirements’:


“I’m looking for someone to make me famous my brand has grown so much now I should be getting noticed more not looking for rip off Pr companies that lie.” (sic.)


PR is not about making you feel special


This person is specifically asking to be made famous. This is about their ego. What they are really asking is, ‘why am I not famous when my product is successful?’


This isn’t what PR does. Just as with the example above, PR can bring people to your door but it can’t close the deal and it won’t make you famous. To paraphrase Lauren Bacall, ‘Fame isn’t a profession, it’s an accident.’


Many years ago, I heard Ricky Gervais respond to the question, “how do you become famous?” with the response, “kill someone.” A glib answer that got him into trouble, but there is a point to what he says. Fame is an accidental afterthought that comes from doing good work. Why spend all that time learning to write, act, develop a new vacuum cleaner, etc. if all you want is fame. You can circumnavigate all that effort by doing something heinous.


Focus on your product


PR should always focus on your product or service. In the example on the forum, the writer never mentions this, they are focusing on fame. Yet, it is the product that has got them into the position where they can consider the next step that may, ‘accidentally’, bring them some form of notoriety.


At Blueberry, we always focus on the product or service. What makes it special? What is there about it that can be promoted and what will chime with the needs of a potential customer? How can we bring people to the sales team for them to convert into customers? Part of this will involve the personalities involved in the business, because people buy people, but it won’t focus on making them into household names.


Over the years, we’ve have worked with everyone from pest controllers to academics, photographers, designers, estate agents, foresters, soap manufacturers, turkey farmers, accountants, website entrepreneurs, dentists, Christmas tree farmers…the list goes on. What links them all is the fact they are experts in their field, and they have a great service or product. No amount of PR hype can hide the fact a person doesn’t know what they are talking about, or their product isn’t actually very good – just look at the advertising budgets for rubbish films.


By focusing on each of our clients’ ‘unique selling points’ (USP) we can help them to achieve their goals. Part of this may also be to get them into magazines or on to the radio/TV, but that has never been the objective.


At the end of the day, when you are looking at PR, what do you want? Fame – hollow and often fleeting – or continued success?


If you have a product or service that deserves to reach a larger audience, contact Suzi on 07590 591140 or e-mail suzi@blueberry-pr.co.uk

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