What if PR professionals went on strike?

6 February 2023, By Inês Teixeira, Senior Account Executive at Canela

Data from DGERT shows that 2022 was a year characterized by strikes in different sectors, especially in the transport and storage sector (33%), and 2023 will be no different. 

The truth is that we become alarmed as soon as we hear the word STRIKE because we know that somehow it will affect our routine:

– Civil servant strike? Let’s get a mental list of people we can leave the kids with. 

-Transport strike? We do math in our heads to set our alarm clocks ahead and pray that we can get to work (in case we are not able to work remotely). 

– Airlike strike? “Please, may it not affect my flight as I’m already booked!”

We all know that strikes can be annoying, but they clearly demonstrate the importance of workers in certain sectors in our daily lives and remind us of the reasons why we should care for them. So let’s imagine a completely fictitious world in which PR and communication professionals went on strike. Intrigued by this question, we decided to let our imagination run wild.

1. The journalists

In the beginning, journalists might notice a quieter inbox and a less active phone and might even, for a few days, appreciate that silence. However, this symbiosis between the work of journalism and public relations creates enormous added value for both professions. 

If, for a while, PR professionals did not do their job, brands would feel the need to go into action and contact journalists themselves. The filtering of information done by communication consultants would cease to exist. Can you imagine? From a quieter email inbox, they would now have an uncontrolled accumulation of press releases, informative leaflets and newsletters. 

Some brands often live in their bubble and fail to understand that not all information is relevant, not all information should reach the media and not all information should be released all at once. Today, a personalized pitch, an exclusive or a special interview has more power and impact than results measured in a quantitative way. And it is there, in that passage of information that both clients and journalists will ask for the strike to end. 

On the other hand, journalists, although they sometimes do not know it, have communication consultants as their best allies. Consultants research the work of the media and value it, proactively asking their clients to provide relevant information and opportunities, such as interviews or opinion pieces. It is fair to say that much, if not most, media content relies on the collaboration of media agencies and communications departments.

2. The brands

In the first place, the use of public relations professionals, both in house and outsourcing, arises from a specific need to create a strategy that creates a link between the brand, and what it has to say with the media, and consequently with its target audience. Nowadays, additionally, there is already a huge range of ways in which brands can go about reaching their audiences, and once again, it is essential that experienced professionals in the field are the ones who align this strategy: what, how, where and when we should communicate. 

It no longer makes sense to communicate only the products or services that brands have to offer. It is necessary to make known the companies’ values, who is behind all the success and, essentially, offer information that is useful for people’s lives. 

Faced with a strike by PR professionals, reaching the target audience would be a rollercoaster of trial and error which would be damaging to the brand’s image. The inactivity of communication professionals would leave brands and organisations without a fundamental element: the non-advertising dissemination of their messages, as well as their added value for society.

3. The audience 

Most people don’t know that the majority of the experts seen on television or read in newspaper articles – be it a CEO of a company or a senior government official – are the result of several PR professionals working behind the scenes. Despite all the media training to get the information across in the most perceptible way possible, positioning people as opinion leaders is not always an easy task. When it is achieved, what they contribute to society and to public knowledge is highly relevant. 

Different people have different approaches on a given topic. Hearing different perspectives makes us more informed and allows us to use our free will to think for ourselves. If PR professionals didn’t do their job, they would be reducing the amount of information that is transmitted and limiting the knowledge of the population. 

Let’s be honest and value ourselves: communication professionals are important players in the flow of relevant information to society. Yes, if we went on strike, even society as a whole would suffer the consequences. Do you agree?

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