Oh, Mary

PR Is More Than Just Scandal

May 20, 2019
April Stratemeyer

“Hi, my name is Chandler Bing and not even my closest friends know what I do for a living.”

It may be fifteen years after the Friends TV series has ended, but the notion of not knowing what even our best friends or family do for a living still rings true.

I may not actually be Chandler, and I may not work in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration, but I do work in an equally perplexing job sector – public relations.

Did images of BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, or Kendall Jenner handing a police officer an ice-cold Pepsi just flash into your head at the mention of “public relations”? If so, you’ve only heard about one segment of the PR industry – crisis handling and communication. And not to spoil your fun, but PR isn’t always that dramatic.

Dragging a bloody passenger down the aisle of an airplane (Yes United, we still remember) is sure to create a public uproar and cause a massive PR blunder, but the reality is this type of scenario doesn’t happen very often for your average company or brand. Clothing companies are going to end up partnering with a bad designer, food and drink companies are going to have spoiled product issues, and that new intern is going to get fired for that insensitive tweet. There may be fires to put out at times, but crises probably make up only 10% of what PR revolves around.

That begs the common question: What do PR people do for the other 90% of their job?

The answer is rather straightforward. We tell authentic stories through every communication channel. (You know, building a relationship with the public.)

It’s easy to use Fortune 500 companies to explain PR narratives as their stories tend to be rather digestible on their surface. Uber replaced taxi drivers because they were too expensive and unpredictable, and Apple felt they could build a better computer system than Microsoft. Pretty easy to understand, right?

But why would a mom-and-pop grocery store need PR? Don’t they just need TV advertisements and printed marketing material? 

PR is telling the story of how a grocery store is providing a job for a young high school or college student. It’s how by partnering with a pharmacy, nearby senior citizens can get their medicine much easier and faster. It’s how the store is providing locally-sourced, healthy and fresh food products to residents in an otherwise fast-food packed food desert.

Notice the human element? PR elevates it.

PR accepts reality for what it is, and tells that story in a human way.

The beauty of PR is that it is inherently human. Without humans, there would be no story to tell, and without humans, there would be no one to tell that story to.

PR is working with journalists, editors and producers to pull in every element needed to tell audiences the story that resonates with them most. PR is collaborating with every team member and every department to ensure cohesiveness and relevance. And PR is making complex problems, solutions, and stories easily digestible to every person.

The reality is, the best stories come from a place of authenticity and humanness. They must be honest and truthful. When companies or brands aren’t being authentic, that’s often when crises arise.

Finding the greater purpose behind companies and elevating that story with a human element is what we do at Action Mary on a daily basis. We launch new brands, we help mature brands re-emerge with new relevance, and we relentlessly move our clients to the forefront of industry thought and commentary.

Having a robust PR strategy will elevate every communications channel for companies. It will provoke smarter marketing and advertising campaigns, it will engender greater brand understanding, and it will encourage people to be inspired.

So, what is your story? We would love to hear it.