Friday, July 13, 2012

All in a day's work

Water battles in California usually end up (or begin) in the public relations arena. 

Today's LA Times story points out that PR firms were hired for competing interests in a long-running battle in CA's desert to pump, store and move water to serve urban SoCal.  (Disclosure: I was on "both sides" of this issue - first representing Cadiz, then working for the Metropolitan Water District).

While this particular reporter has long made it a habit to point out when PR firms are used in water battles, as if to say "Hey, this is wrong, right?", the mention simply highlights "why" public outreach and strategic communications are a needed, must-have professional service.

This is especially true with a highly emotional and high-stakes item as water in California.

(I know - this sounds self-serving, given my firm has water clients.)

Yet, the plain truth is evident:  Public support is needed for most major water issues in the West.  And, the only way to get public support is....through "public" relations.

Let's face it:  the world is full of information all competing for our attention. A public relations firm provides valuable services to:

  • Call attention to an issue.
  • Help package all the facts in a way that makes sense
  • Provide answers to common questions
  • Respond to allegations, charges and attacks
There is a lot of work that goes into this:  research, developing strategies to effectively reach your audiences and make sure they are receiving the information in the "way" they want to receive it, monitor what is being said about the issue, anticipating where the campaign will go, contacting news organizations, building websites, designing brochures, holding community meetings...and the list goes on.

The common misconception is that PR firms "spin" their audiences or the issues.Wrong.  The best PR firms simply make sure the facts for their client's side are presented and given proper consideration.  The better term is that we "argue" on behalf of our clients - much like a lawyer would in court.  The really good PR firms will even acknowledge to news reporters the "failings" or vulnerabilities of their client's side of the story because we know no one is perfect. 

All in a day's work for a PR firm. 


Anonymous said...

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PR Agencies

Raquel Baldelomar said...

Public relations firms play an energetic role in various job areas such as corporate communications, consumer marketing, style, lifestyle, entertainment, social websites and others. These firms put into action creative and bespoke programs in public relations. These programs are made in order that a client’s specific business objectives tend to be met.

Anonymous said...

Great information about what PR firms do. My company has been considering hiring a public outreach firm for a while. I am assuming that is the same idea as a PR agent. After reading this, I think it would be a good idea.