I Will Give My Reputation in the Right Hands
Even the most charismatic and powerful leader cannot be the sole manager of their reputation.
Contrary to popular belief, even the most charismatic and powerful leader cannot be the sole manager of their reputation. It is the retinue that makes the king. That is why you can demonstrate bright deeds; you can spend a lot of money on good deeds but at the same time lose one opportunity after another to get recognition. It is just that every action, including image/reputation work, should be handled by a person with the right mindset. Choose this person more carefully than a personal psychotherapist, lawyer, fitness trainer, and beautician combined.
Unfortunately, the situation is diametrically opposite in practice. Everywhere, the good name of famous people, large companies, quality goods, and services is in the hands of amateurs. In the best case, such fail-managers of reputation appear in the PR industry due to nepotism, due to the negligence of HR specialists in the case of medium difficulty, due to Khlestakov-Bendera’s talents in the worst case.
I will generalize the principles that make sense to be guided by when hiring a press secretary for yourself or a PR specialist for an organization.
- Regardless of whether you are looking for a PR specialist for personal promotion or an organization, honestly answer the question of why. Choose according to the exterior and regalia if prestige is a goal or “to be like everyone else.” If you look for a specialist to achieve work goals and results, turn to points 2 and 3.
- If you are looking for a press secretary whose task is your personal image, the main thing to pay attention to is psychological and worldview compatibility. Professionalism is a necessary but not sufficient condition. The press secretary sometimes has to become the alter ego of a boss – a speechwriter, a proclaimer in critical situations, face in the eyes of the surrounding world. And a personal bodyguard in some sense but one that provides not physical, but informational security.
- If you are looking for a PR specialist for an organization and the functions of a press secretary are not the preliminary ones (as them will have an employee with such obligation or the personal PR of the company’s top management is not one of the priority tasks), then special attention should be paid to the career path and to correspondence of the business tasks and corporate cultures of the companies where the applicant worked with these same parameters in the new job. It is often painful to observe how people who are used to the clear policies and procedures of proper international corporations cannot adapt to the intuitively authoritarian conditions of Ukrainian entrepreneurial companies or how specialists accustomed to Slavic freedom suffocate in such corporations or how hard it is for those who risked coming from business to politics or civil service, where completely different competencies are required.
- In all cases (1-2-3), clearly define your expectations from the new employee and the criteria for measuring the effectiveness of they work. There are external and internal communications; a press secretary and a PR director do different things; IR and GR are not the same things. Also, there is no method that would directly determine and make it possible to accurately predict the impact of PR measures on the sales volume.
I am deeply convinced that professional PR education is of secondary importance. PR is an interdisciplinary field, a kind of quintessence of accumulated intellectual baggage and applied experience. The ideal PR specialist is a person with encyclopaedic knowledge with the skills of a one man army. It is quite possible to get a highly specialized education either as a second degree or as a post-graduate degree or even on the battlefield.
It is vital for specialists in business PR to have an economic or related (marketing, etc.) education in order to understand the laws of the functioning of commercial organizations. Political PR specialists could do with knowledge of political science, the basics of political analysis, the organization of state and municipal administration, budget implementation, etc.
The distilled water of most educational PR programs (except for those involving professional practitioners) does not contribute to the emergence of personnel of the required quality. Unfortunately, almost nowhere, including Western business schools, teach that the most correct PR is a responsible work that is customer-oriented not on paper but in real life.
Trust your intuition and common sense, in addition to the recommendations of an HR, when looking for a PR specialist who will become an adviser and associate. However, you will need to learn the material a little and understand what reputation is and why a person having a significance or wanting to have it should take care of their reputation in the modern world.