How Public Relations Is Like High School



Posted: In: Blogs PR Education

As a PR professional, I am constantly educating those around me that do not work in the industry about what public relations is and does. Even those who work in other facets of marketing often cannot describe PR with confidence.

In honor of school years ending, and in light of the fact that education never stops, here’s my take on how public relations is like high school.

Typically, high school is the time in life when you discover what people associate with you:

“Amy… she’s the girl who always wears pink.”

“Oh, Candice is the girl who’s always singing!”

“Brad? That’s the guy who is really into basketball, right?“

Public relations is the conceptualization, development, and sharing of those associations for a brand or specific person to build out a narrative of their story.

Contrary to popular belief, PR is not just publicity – a.k.a. hosting the party. It is also selecting the guest list, choosing the decorations and refreshments, and monitoring what people say when they leave.

Just like high school, no one likes to be gossiped about. (But as we all know, people will inevitably talk.)

Measuring the perceptions of and reactions to both the associations that you’ve proactively developed, as well as the associations that others have created for you, is vital.

You want to know what others are saying so you can correct them when needed, ensuring that perceptions align with your truths.

“No, Mike is really into basketball. Brad is the guy that plays soccer.“

Clarification is key. Clarification enables optimization.

For an industry that is often misunderstood, let’s go back to school to explain what we do.

Superlative Time: How do you want to be known?


Thanks, Kelly. Meet another bright mind behind the scenes at AirPR:

Seth Boyles