Offices of girls in high heels with their nails done to the nines – this is just one of the clichés that I’ve heard about PR.
When I came to Ireland three weeks ago, I had preconceived ideas about this country, too. Rainy weather, green everywhere and crowds of drunken Irish people with pints of Guinness in their hands. Some of them may be right, some not!
While studying Journalism and Media Management in Germany, I have had lots of conversations with people asking me about my plans after I graduate. Telling them about my degree and how I would like to work in PR for a while once I graduate means I’ve heard a lot of clichés and stereotypes about working in PR.
Here are some of the most common I’ve come across, and how here at Alice PR we’re bucking the trend:
PR is often perceived as a woman’s world. (Not necessarily in the top positions, however). And it’s often seen as a career for women more interested in the latest celebrity gossip than the latest political developments.
Admittedly, we are an all-female team here at Alice, but that’s where the similarity ends. We work with clients across a range of sectors and issues, from technology and education to campaigning on social justice issues. We care passionately about equality and women’s rights, and have a wide range of interests, from sports to saving the environment!
That said, we still like getting our nails done sometimes, and that’s OK too. Plus, we would gladly welcome a man to #TeamAlice!
“PRs versus Journalists”
It’s been fairly well documented that journalists and PR agencies are often at loggerheads, but (while not everyone wants to admit it!) journalists and PR agencies both rely on each other.
At Alice PR, we pride ourselves on getting results for our clients, but we also know when something just won’t work with the media, and it’s important to us that our clients’ expectations are managed, and that we treat journalists and media outlets with respect.
“Your job is soo glamourous!”
A few weeks ago, we organised a photocall for the launch of the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association Ireland’s first national survey. For the photocall, we ordered three large balloons. One of my first jobs here at Alice was to arrange for them to be filled with helium and to collect them, and they were so large, it took me three trips. Three times I walked up and down the street with a GIANT balloon, and three times I was laughed at. Not so glamorous!
And that’s just one example – at the TEDxShannonED event we organised last December, Niamh and Emily were sledge-hammering traffic signs into the side of a road at 7.30am the morning of the event. Don’t call us dolly birds!
“People in PR have a really bad work-life balance”
There might be a grain of truth to this one! We are guilty of constantly checking our phones, and replying to emails at 10pm. Our colleagues are also our friends, and sometimes it’s hard to stop talking shop when we’re out socially. But we are trying to get better!
“Work-shy hipsters with Macbooks”
Yes, we have apples, but we’re usually eating them while frantically typing emails to arrange media interviews for clients, writing press releases, or putting together a PR plan.
No way, José. At Alice PR, we pride ourselves on working with clients whose work we believe in, and who we like working with.
“Unpaid interns run the show”
Luckily, there is an internship programme at Alice PR. Otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this blog!
At the moment, there are three interns here: Nelly, Ellie, and I. Our main roles are to support our senior staff across a range of tasks, from writing blogs and press notices to organising props for photocalls and updating the never-ending media lists. I can speak for all of us when I say we haven’t been given any tasks where we’ve felt completely overwhelmed. We all love getting the opportunity to work on real-life tasks for clients, but we know that an internship is a healthy balance between those tasks and shredding!
Most of the clichés I’ve heard since I’ve expressed an interest in working in PR have proven to be untrue, and stem from a lack of understanding about what PR actually is!
Have you come across stereotypes and clichés in your role? We’d love to hear from you!