Oct 5, 2015
Karen Ang: The PR industry needs better PR
When researching the PR business it struck me how this industry of reputation doesn't do itself any favours. "Prepare for long hours and demanding clients,""You need to be made from strong stuff to make it in the industry," and "It's not for the faint hearted." Speaking to family, friends and forums, the general view of PR can be daunting; stressful, fast paced and dog-eat-dog. My experience at specialised healthcare agency, ROAD Communications was quite the opposite, and an ideal place to investigate a career in PR for myself.
After spending three weeks with West London based consultancy ROAD, I can say PR has a somewhat undeserved reputation. The ROAD team are supportive, motivatedand clearly all proud of what they do. Yes, it is a busy environment with quick turn arounds and constantly updating deadlines but this just gives the office a contagious buzz.
The variety of the work is what sparked my interest in PR, especially in the healthcare sector. As a Biology student with a passion for creativity and the psychology of change, ROAD seemed the ideal place to explore the way these spheres come together. In order to change people's attitudes towards their health; ultimately why I chose a Biology degree in the first place.
My time at ROAD has not only made me realise the possibilities of using science to influence change, but also the value of PR as an industry. In the past it's been viewed as a 'nice to have,' rather than a crucial part of the marketing function, but a company's public relations has an effect on every part of its business; yes, it's about reputation but it's also about encouraging people to care and very often to change behaviour. During my time at ROAD I learnt parts of the process involved in high level strategic planning, right down to the vital media relations, and my favourite aspect - organising patient advocates to share their experience. The power of shared influence being so effective.
There are issues that are affecting thousands of people around the country, silent epidemics, but awareness of the conditions is so low that nothing is being done and people aren't getting the help they need. This is where PR comes in; raising awareness, generating interest, turning a previously unheard of issue or condition into one that receives the attention it deserves.
The most important, and probably the most surprising thing I learnt during my internship at ROAD Communications however, was about the PR industry itself. It's actually a pretty positive, exciting and motivating place to be.