The Power of Mom
May 15, 2015
I first met Howie when he presented to my communications class during the last quarter of senior year at the University of Washington (go Huskies!). In addition to capturing my immediate attention touting a “No BS” approach to PR, I remember one of the first pieces of PR wisdom Howie shared us, “No one will ever fully understand what you do for a living – not even your family.” Although not entirely aware what he meant at the time, I was certainly intrigued.
Fast-forward five years and Howie’s wisdom still holds true, not only here at BPR, but as an industry as a whole. PR is an industry that is largely misunderstood, often mistaken for marketing or advertising (although most PR pros would appreciate a martini lunch reminiscent of advertising’s Mad Men era). Misinterpreted or not, from my perspective PR is simply the best kept secret.
As Mother’s Day quickly crept on us this year, I asked my BPR family to do a little field testing to see how well our own moms know what we do for 40+ hours a week. I was certain that they too would succumb to the masses and wouldn’t have a clue what their precious kiddos do day in and day out, but I was completely wrong.
In addition to being our super heroes, the best cooks, and our shoulder to cry on when we scraped a knee, one thing will forever hold true – our moms are the shit. Admittedly, judging by mom’s facial expressions each time I try to explain my client’s technology (even in layman’s terms), I highly doubted she knew what I did for a living. And for that, I’m forever sorry and will never doubt her again. In fact, her answer was pretty damn perfect:
“You create a positive image for companies via media.”
A few brilliant answers from other BPR Moms include:
“You monitor your clients public image and help them market themselves and promote their product or service through mass media.” – Taylor N’s Mom
“Honey, I think the job of a PR person is to inject, increase, and or improve the image of a client company in a market it wishes to target. I think you’re doing this by increasing exposure and visual media, television, the written media, magazines and newspaper articles and through social media. And I don’t really understand how you do all social media, but there are lots of ways I guess. The job of a PR person I think is to make a product understandable, approachable, and desirable.” – Melissa’s Mom
“Not sure I really know what you do-write press releases, council CEO’s on communication strategies-what else?” – Karli’s Mom
“Help companies find the best way to get their products, message to the masses.” – Constance’s Mom
“I think you kind of sell the company that you’re promoting. If you’re working for a business you advocate for them.” – Taylor B’s Mom
So PR pros, what have we learned today? Our moms are badass. They are always right, they listen (even as we attempt to explain the complexities of enterprise security, mobile device management and programmatic advertising), and they have a pretty solid idea of what we do in PR.
To be fair, this post wouldn’t be complete without a few honorable mentions as well.
“I have no idea what you do, but you’re on your phone too much.” – Lindsey’s Mom
“Are you Samantha Jones from Sex and the City?” – Lauren’s Mom
“I mean, I think your title says it all ‘public relations.’” – Allyse’s Mom