Today I want to talk about PR and insecurity.
PR is a marketing tool that communicates in the skill of sharing stories. PR (and its friend advertising) are always subtly prodding at your fears, weaknesses and vulnerabilities to pretty much make you feel crap and elicit you to make choices in the face of those fears.
The content we consume fills quite a large part of our lives and increasingly so. We are living in the ‘attention era’, where your attention is a commodity. Your attention is bought and sold whether you know it or not. And the things we give our attention to, can really burden us with insecurity
The feeling of not having enough or being enough is often triggered by the content we consume. Whether we find it to consume it or whether it finds us.
PR is built on creating feelings of insecurity. It’s what compels people to buy things. I don’t like that. I don’t want of be a part of that. But I kind of am.
Rightly or wrongly, here is a content example that recently grabbed my attention and immediately elicited feelings of insecurity…
− An online newsletter from a friend PRing all their wins for the year when yours feel like in comparison they just don’t stack up.
− Additionally to the above that heavy feeling that I’ve not managed to send out not one newsletter for the entire year while ironically I’m often encouraging others to prioritise it.
I know that consuming this content and the way it made me feel says more about me and my flaws than the friend who sent it; the result of such PR however really plays into insecurity.
Whether it’s a service or a product, PR is an industry built on communicating the wins and benefits of things so that you will feel compelled to purchase them or step closer into that world of perceived joy and wonderfulness.
We snout the facts about something. Wrap some words around them, occasionally strap an event to the product or service, which in-turn generates content, engagement and awareness. We educate ‘the people’.
Yep, we let people know about things they need that would make their world better. Important things. News things. Yes, we have news.
People then make an informed and rational decision about whether based on that news and information they should purchase that product or service. We shift unaware or irrational thoughts into positive emotional experiences to reshape perception and influence behaviours.
And we know that most purchasing decisions are fundamentally made on an emotional level. And what connects people on an emotional level? Stories. Humans and their stories.
People buy based on facts but mostly on emotion. Content triggers emotion. Good and bad. There are hotshot marketing executives in the ‘Ethically Made’ industry who couldn’t give a damn about all things ethically made, but they know that by appealing to people’s emotion of ‘doing good for the world’ they will sell more products. And quite simply, make more money.
PR (and advertising) is centred around finding people’s pain points and subtly making them feel worse. PR and information are not separate. PR is angled at making you feel like you need something in order to feel this. Or in other words PR makes you feel shit.
Now that we’re all aware of the PR industry’s machinations and dark side; let’s ponder together how we can sprinkle our own magic PR dust in our own businesses of sharing stories to really do good for humanity. Proper good.
The solution? I actually don’t have all the answers on this. But I do know that I am fortunate enough to be on the inside of this business of PR. We can unearth the stories to tell. What stories do you want to hear more about? What are the stories that would make you feel good? What are the stories that would energise you and inspire you to live your best life?
I’m personally drawn to people who are not perfectly PRd. Who don’t always have their shit together. Who possibly haven’t had the biggest year of business wins but who still made progress towards their goals, and who are open about how they overcame their challenges to get there.
Let’s together be more open about micro success and our big, fat challenges. Let’s be shining examples of life as a brumby in the wild in the unforgiving Australian bush, and who from time to time (or often) get stuck in the mud.
Let’s together be brands and businesses who are willing to share the highs and the lows behind the stage curtain so that together we can all help each other in our creative and financially fulfilling pursuits and enjoy life along the way.
Words by Jade Roberts
raraPR Founder and Director.
raraPR is above all the sum of people who together help build brands and share stories. We are present in our determination to make a positive difference to the world by representing individuals and businesses that are doing good. We are an extension of the personal stories within us, those that we exist for and those within you that need to be heard.