I don’t like people who present problems without suggesting solutions. So, I realize I owe poor Steve Barrett, editor of PR Week, an apology since I did just that in yesterday’s blog.
In my column, I decried PR Week’s increasing obsession with all things global, namely the holding companies and the intergalactic corporations they represent. Perhaps most disturbing of all, though, was PR Week’s recent decision to name WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell as our industry’s most powerful person. Naming Sorrell, who never spent a day practicing PR, our field’s top dude is akin to declaring A-Rod the winner of the Emily Post Annual Etiquette Award.
Ah, but I have a solution to PR Week’s obsessive compulsive behavior: Create a spin-off publication aimed at start-ups, boutiques, small and midsized agencies. Call it PR Week, Jr.
Just think of what PR Week, Jr. could contain:
- Organization charts that don’t depict Ford Motor Company’s labyrinth-like dotted and straight lines but, rather Bob & Ray’s Deli management structure. At long last, we’ll learn whether bologna does, in fact, report to the CCO.
- An awards program in which FH, Weber, Edelman and Ketchum aren’t nominated for 27 awards each AND don’t have three finalists each in seven different categories.
- A cover story on the trials and tribulations of the CMO of a Boulder-based, Series A-funded technology start-up. That would be so relevant and refreshing in comparison to, say, the laugh out loud funny profile a few years back of Yahoo’s top PR guy in which he boasted, “I want the people at Google waking up each day and wondering what Yahoo’s up to, and not vice versa.” How’d that one work out for you, buddy?
Let the record show I’d be delighted to contribute an occasional PR Week, Jr. by-liner or engage in a heated debate about the future of satellite media tours. I’d even consider shelling out bucks for a print ad.
It seems to me PR Week has reached a tipping point: the content is becoming more and more elitist, and less and less relevant. And, here’s the larger problem: for all of their bravado about covering what’s new and next, Barrett & Co. are completely overlooking the engine of America’s recovery, small business.
PR Week, Jr. could fill that void, and champion the Burson-Marstellers, Golins and FHs of tomorrow. But, they won’t. Why fix what they don’t think is broken?
Ah, but one can dream. And, right now, I’ve got my sights set on being named PR Week, Jr’s. Most Powerful Person of the Year 2020. And, unlike Sir Martin, I’ll be able to say I actually practiced public relations.
One final note: I’d be delighted to play host to any PR Week representative who’s willing to debate this very real, and very serious, problem on RepTV, my highly acclaimed, if seldom viewed, web series. Any takers?