Exploring PR's Image Problem

Bob Geller, Senior VP, Fusion NY (@rgeller)

Some people have observed that PR has an image problem.  I was going to say “PR problem,” but had to stop myself.  The words “PR” and “problem’  are often lumped together.  The unfortunate result is that many types of problems – customer service disasters, lawsuits, etc. – are described as “PR problems” despite the fact that public image impact is only one aspect, a byproduct of the given situation.

This contributes to the image problem of the profession, in my opinion.

To dig a little deeper into the topic, I thought I would try a little exercise: I decided to analyze the words that surrounded PR in news articles over the past year.

You can see the results graphically in a word cloud on my blog, Flack’s Revenge.  I described the methodology I used in my post.

Here are some of the results in numbers:

Negative word most often associated with PR/Approx. # mentions

  • Disaster/36

Positive word most often associated with PR/Approx. # mentions

  • Good/18

Cyncical words describing PR/Approx. # mentions

  • Stunt/36
  • Machine/36
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