Thursday, October 27, 2011

So what do you do?

I noticed a guy down the street had been home a lot lately so I struck up a conversation with him while walking the dog while he was in his yard. Yes, my neighbor confided, he was now unemployed and looking for work.

I asked the usual question: “So what do you do?” I received a simple answer: Auto parts. He was area manager for a firm that sells parts to car dealers’ service departments. These being hard times in the car biz, orders were way down and he was among those let go.

He asked me the same question and I gave him the wordy Cutlip/Center/Broom definition of PR, which furrowed his eyebrows. “So you’re a psychologist?” No, I replied, but that’s part of it. “You’re in advertising?” Well, I do some of that. He struggled on with my reply and finally hit on an answer: “Marketing! You’re in marketing!” I figured that was as good as it gets, nodded, wished him well and went on down the street with our dog.

This is not an unusual problem for our profession. The latest evidence might be the current discussion among LinkedIn’s APR group. An entertaining YouTube video of curbstone interviews, asking pedestrians to define PR, provoked the LinkedIn exchange.

Maybe I’ll just say “marketing” next time someone asks what I do. It’s no surprise the public doesn’t understand what public relations is when PR practitioners have a hard time explaining what we do.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PRSA Holds National Polcymaking Assembly - 2 Delegates Represent San Antonio Area Chapter

Rebecca M. Villarreal (chapter president) and I represented the PRSA San Antonio area chapter at this year’s national assembly in Orlando (big sacrifice) this weekend. The big news was two-fold. With the passage of the dues increase comes free webinars for PRSA members. I don’t mean a handful of webinars. I mean all PRSA webinars, tons of them, that you’ll have access to from your desk beginning this January!

The passage of the dues measure was not a surprise given the volume of clear information provided by the board and others leading up to the event. Our chapter supported the increase because it makes sense for the future of the society. (See my upcoming Byline story or the national PRSAY blog story for more details.)

The surprising part was the fact that there was no debate about it from the floor. There were a couple of questions about the online membership form and the quarterly payment option. But that was it. In the five assembly sessions I’ve attended, never have I seen one without someone venting about something (often those rants were akin to ranting irrelevant comments at the end of newspaper articles online).

It was so refreshing this week to be a part of a roomful of 300 PRSA leaders who are truly committed to advancing the profession. Rosanna Fiske, APR, PRSA chair and CEO, deserves tremendous credit for her leadership this year. (In fact, she received an impromptu standing ovation from the assembly.) In upcoming posts, I will share news from Rosana’s state of the society as well as info I gleaned from the international conference that followed.