How the mighty battle with the forces of news

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It seems the PR penny has finally dropped in the Jones household. While watching Something for the Weekend, my fiancé (an English teacher) turned to me and said: ‘I bet the PR company’s not happy with that’. He was referring to the rather lackadaisical performance by a young actor, who seemed nonplussed about where he was, where he’d been, and why he was on the show.

While we’re not in the game of managing people, per se, we are in the business of building brands and the people who sit behind them. Each has similar challenges. Stick a young twentysomething on live TV and you have to hope and pray that he says all the right things. Send out a highly manicured release, set up an interview and arrange a picture and again, it’s in the lap of the gods as to what a journalist chooses to do with it.

As PRs our fate often lies in the hands of others. We can prep, research and write the greatest of releases, but if the news agenda conspires against us, or the person chooses not to perform, then even the mighty is likely to fail. Think of all those hardworking executives who had their fantastic stories lined up last week for a rigorous sell-in, only to be scuppered by a certain Mr Terry whose love life even managed to shift Haiti and MPs’ expenses from the front pages.

We’re constantly battling with forces beyond our control, but I guess what doesn’t kill us makes us more persistent and creative (oh and stronger).