Once a huge ship’s engine failed, the ship-owners tried one expert after another but none of them could figure out how to fix the engine. Then they brought in an old man, who has been fixing ships since he was young. He carried a large bag of tools with him and when he arrived he immediately went on work. He inspected the engine very carefully from top to bottom. Two of the management guys were watching this guy hoping he would know to fix this problem. After looking things over, the old man reached out to his bag and pulled out a small hammer. He climbed again on top of the engine and somewhere he gently tapped something and suddenly the engine lurched into life.
The engine was fixed and after a week the owners received a bill from the old man for Rs. 10 Lakh. The owners got furious as they didn’t see him doing much, so they sent a note to the old man stating, “Please send us the itemized bill.”
The old man resent his bill stating:
- Tapping with the hammer : Rs. 50
- Knowing where to tap: Rs. 9,99,950
Today’s nugget is for those people unknown to the actual functioning of public relations, who think that even PR can be done by anyone. It is not; if that was so easy then the PR industry wouldn’t have grown so much worldwide. There are lot of misconceptions about the PR domain and one of the biggest is PR consultancy guys have relationships with the media and hence it should be easy to get the story done, even when there is no story. Which relationship? Which era are we talking about? Today, the journalists have evolved, the wine-dine culture has vanished long ago. The journalist may oblige (rarely) once simply on the professional grounds but not always, you need a strong story peg to even talk to any journalist.
Then the second question pops, if there is a strong story then why do we need you guys? We can also reach out to the journalists and get it done. Agreed, anyone can reach out to the journalists; PR is not a rocket science but is genuinely not as easy as it sounds. PR practitioners’ job is one of the most stressful and thankless job as per many surveys and studies. Today PR practitioners are under tremendous stress, as it getting difficult with every passing day to get an earned story out in the media. Yet they are performing with increased amount of creativity, increased persuasion and negotiation skills, and many more hours each day. On the other hand the retainer paid to the consultancies remains the same as they have been 10 years back.
One simple point to note in this context is that everyone can take the effort to do anything, but knowing where to make an effort, makes all the difference.