Is there a PR personality?

18 Mar

Warning: this post contains generalisations. But remember that theories are abstractions (ie generalisations) based on evidence such as observation.

I fear that we are producing too much convergent thinking. There have always been social pressures to conform in any society – but the world of Facebook likes and Twitter retweets echoes and amplifies this tendency to converge on campaigns, communities and conversations where people can share common ground.

Public relations by its nature seeks consensus – and public relations practitioners will tend therefore to be more conventional than average. This tendency is pronounced among in-house practitioners who must be organisation men and women.

This works well in the good times. But what about in uncertain, unpredictable times? Where are the warning voices? Where is the encouragement of divergent thinking?

Where will the fresh ideas come from if we're all of a similar age, ethnicity, educational background and gender, sharing similar interests? Who will be able to warn of dangers ahead?

We're far enough into the year to know that this will be one of those milestones in history: 1848, 1989, 2011. The tectonic plates have literally shifted. These are uncertain times; there are many risks ahead.

We need to encourage diversity in its true meaning – and bring in fresher thinking from different disciplines and perspectives. There's more to the diversity debate than class, gender, age and ethnicity.

2 Responses to “Is there a PR personality?”

  1. Mediations 18/03/2011 at 7:25 pm #

    This presents me with a dilemma, Richard.
    I want to say that this is a brilliant post, one which resonates precisely with my own thinking (but expresses it rather better), or more accurately, resonates with ways in which I am coming to think, and reflects the more interesting ideas of my more erudite colleagues.
    The problem is that, although the above is true, it sounds willfully ironic…

  2. Richard Bailey 18/03/2011 at 8:26 pm #

    That’s clever. And we can probably both agree that David Phillips is the most divergent thinker we know.

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