PR is for lovers

      53 Comments on PR is for lovers

nerd flowers“When a person brings flowers to a date, that’s good public relations.”

I tell this to my new PR students. As we define public relations, we agree on the premise that PR works to accomplish one of three responses: to create attitudes, to reinforce attitudes, and to change attitudes. And the dating analogy works well.

Let’s begin with online dating.  Two people create profiles– what PR practitioners call backgrounders–to describe their history and current personal status.  When one spots a potential match they contact the other, usually with a clever, enticing online note–in effect, a pitch letter.  If the “pitch” works, a first meeting will take place, often at a mutually agreeable venue.  One of the first get-togethers will involve event planning for which schedules are coordinated, cars are washed, clothing is selected, and hair is cut so the presentation (date) goes exceptionally well.  As the relationship takes root, networking begins, first with friends and then with family.  All of these actions are designed to create attitudes among various publics.

The following weeks and months contain acts of caring and kindness, sharing of new experiences, and a calculated effort to compromise.  This, much like PR, is done to reinforce attitudes.

Eventually a crisis may hit.  Someone says or does something they shouldn’t have said or done, and now an all-out effort is made to change attitudes.  This usually again includes flowers and a significant number of “I’m sorrys.”  Various PR tools must be employed if there’s any chance of success.  But then the good behaviors must be sustained because, as I tell my students, good PR is more that clever words or window dressing. Maintaining positive acceptance of your audience must always be supported by consistent performance.

So as Valentine’s Day approaches this week, keep this in mind: “When a date brings flowers, that’s good PR. When flowers are given to the date’s mother, that’s expert PR!”  Lesson learned.  Your thoughts?

53 thoughts on “PR is for lovers

  1. Alex Packer

    Wow, what an excellent analogy. It’s absolutely true that all people employ PR tactics everyday, and this is what makes our job as communicators so challenging. Everyone is well versed in communication to some degree, and we as professionals must respect our audience enough reach them on a personal level. Dating is the perfect analogy for this. If we hope to engage in a meaningful relationship with a person we must take time to consider the messages that we are sending out, and listen carefully to the messages being sent back. As the relationship develops a person must examine their arsenal of communication tools and select which may be most effective at a given time.

  2. Amanda Daley

    Whether we realize it or night, we are constantly using PR tactics every day. This dating analogy is a perfect example of how we do things to impress others and create a positive image of ourselves.

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  5. Jeremy Beck

    I like the analogy between PR and dating. I think it’s fairly obvious once I see it spelled out like this because the obvious similarities exist in putting forth a positive image in any situation. In any relationship (romantic, personal, business, etc) there remains a need to be seen in a positive light. I think the analogy worked best to help demonstrate the importance of maintaining positive behavior because we all know in relationships actions speak louder than words.

  6. diane

    I never thought about how public relations and dating could be connected but after reading this blog post I completely see how they are. In public relations it is so important to make good impressions and build relationships and the same goes for dating. I really like the way you explain public relations by connecting it to examples that we experience, such as dating, because it makes the concepts much easier to understand.

  7. Brittni Hicks

    I have to agree with Claire. If someone brought flowers to my mother on a first date, it would seem to me as if they are trying to apologize in advance for how they are about to act on our date.

  8. kerrischreiber

    This is so true! I find myself going through PR tactics when it comes to dating or trying to impress someone. PR is creating a positive image which is something that we all strive to do when meeting someone new. Luckily as PR majors we have an advantage over everyone else in the world! Thinking of ourselves as a human media kit could essentially make us irresistible!
    Online is definitely the best example. We sometimes may say things online that we normally wouldn’t say about ourselves in a normal conversation. Social media outlets allow us to write in words who we are so that we can show through our actions without saying, “hey my name is kerri *insert song lyrics here*” if you can see the type of profile/about me I am talking about…(someone probably had one on their old myspace account, I know I did! :))

    and sorry didn’t mean to reply to someone directly.

  9. Drew Avery

    I love the comparison between bringing your date some flowers and good PR. It gives me a new perspective entirely on PR and dating. I look at PR as doing something small to show your audience the appreciation it deserves.

    1. kerrischreiber

      This is so true! I find myself going through PR tactics when it comes to dating or trying to impress someone. PR is creating a positive image which is something that we all strive to do when meeting someone new. Luckily as PR majors we have an advantage over everyone else in the world! Thinking of ourselves as a human media kit could essentially make us irresistible!
      Online is definitely the best example. We sometimes may say things online that we normally wouldn’t say about ourselves in a normal conversation. Social media outlets allow us to write in words who we are so that we can show through our actions without saying, “hey my name is kerri *insert song lyrics here*” if you can see the type of profile/about me I am talking about…(someone probably had one on their old myspace account, I know I did! :))

  10. skhuyhua

    When it comes to online dating its pretty obvious that you need to have the best profile that you can to “attract” your potential future mate. This reminds me of the story you told us about your daughter and how you recommended a school and she said no because of how bad their website looked. The same goes for online dating, if your digital presentation (dating profile) isn’t doing great no one will contact you.

  11. Carrie Walker

    I absolutely love this analogy. Dating is much like a PR strategy, we all want to present our best selves to achieve attention from the audiences/ people we want to attract. I think this proves how PR is intertwined in our everyday lives. When meeting new people, going for job interviews or even going on a date for the first we all must foster a strategy to present our best selves so we can receive some sort of feed back. We all have implemented PR in some part of our lives whether it has been personally or professionally.

  12. LucieSorel

    I completely agree with you’re opinion that giving flowers to a date or potential partner is good PR. There are many small things we do in life to make a good impression. Without even realizing it we are marketing ourselves everyday in the choices we make. By what we wear and who we associate with, we are creating an image. The people we talk with and encounter daily remember this image. Giving flowers to a date is also creating an image or opinion of yourself as thoughtful, generous, and sweet, all good qualities when dating. Flowers are very appropriate given that situation but they are not appropriate in all scenarios. For example, going to a job interview, one would not bring flowers for the interviewer. This is true in PR, professionals need to pay attention to details and use specific tricks and skills which are appropriate for the product. Making the audience feel special is an important PR technique. Just like a boy makes the girls feel special by giving her flowers, PR professionals need to make the target audience feel special by focusing on their emotions and senses.

  13. Kristen Kelly

    I absolutely agree that a relationship follows the same outline as PR. Even if its not online dating, the rules still apply. Communication is key when it comes to PR and it is a major factor in maintaining a good healthy relationship.

  14. Brenna Harran

    I have never heard that analogy before but I like it! Bringing flowers to a date definitely is relevant to good PR. When you are first meeting someone or going on a first date, you want to represent yourself well to hopefully have a relationship grow and in public relations you want your relationships with companies, communities, etc. to grow and stay positive. We deal with people every day in almost everything we do. Clever line!

  15. Christina Deecken

    I really enjoyed reading this blog post because I had never thought about how PR and online dating could be connected. Your comparison between apologies and PR tools struck me as especially interesting. I think this post further proves how PR can be observed in our daily life activities without us even realizing it.

  16. Lola Odejobi

    PR and online dating are very similar. I agree with you 100%. Online dating has to be done right for it to succeed. The person can be very good looking but if their profile sucks, then they won’t any feedback. On an online profile, you have to “sell” yourself so potentials can contact you. When you finally go on that date, there is very little room for error and that is the same with PR.

  17. Shurida Lundi

    I like the comparison between the online dating and PR. No professor has broken down PR in such a way and I think I understand the profession even more. I think my favorite part of PR is crisis management and changing attitudes. Its probably the toughest part of PR but if its successful like how you explained “bringing flowers or saying a number of I’m sorrys” its very satisfying. People tend to forget that you have to continue to network to maintain good PR which is a lot like dating, men and women forget that you have to continue to work to maintain a good relationship.

  18. rcardno91

    This is a clever and interesting take on PR. Dating is a great example of how good PR skills are useful to everyone. This post illustrates the fact that PR can be found all around us. PR practitioners would be wise to use their occupational skills in other aspects of their lives. A successful PR professional should really be successful in most endeavors because these skills can help them every day.

  19. kristintellsall

    I enjoyed this post. Although I think it’s a little sad dating can be so broken down. However, from my personal experience I’ve seen the bad side of PR. When two clients meet without knowing to plan something new instead of going through the person who created the partnership, it was like someone had cheated. It is true that there is etiquette that must occur for the relationship to run smoothly. Nothing’s worse than bad PR and bad manners for that matter on a first date.

  20. sashmirpu

    This was a fun read and a great analogy! A lot of people have a distorted perception of what PR is– my relatives, for instance, think that it’s all about putting a spin on things. I think this analogy is a great way of stressing what PR really is all about. I should make them read this!

  21. Kneekiki

    I enjoyed this post a lot and I agree completely. “Someone says or does something they shouldn’t have said or done, and now an all-out effort is made to change attitudes.” This crisis hits all the time. We use PR even when we’re not thinking about it. It is our natural instinct as PR practitioners to create, reinforce and change attitudes like you said.

  22. christineneumann

    This analogy really surprised me. The more I thought about it, the more it clicked in my mind. I think people try to tell themselves that image is less a part of their lives than they think it is. But this analogy shows that attitudes an image, while different are similar. Attitude effects how you look at something, or how you interpret it. We deal with image and attitude in almost every interaction we have with those around us, not just those we are trying to impress. Plus, I’m pretty sure a little effort (or a few flowers) never hurt anyone’s attitude or their image.

  23. ccorte6

    This analogy is perfect. The more classes I have taken in PR the more I have realized that it’s something everyone practices in their everyday lives. What I think was the most important part of this post though was that it isn’t just enough to bring the flowers, you need to back that up with other positive actions and beliefs in order for there to be any meaning to the flowers. This concept should always be kept in mind when dealing with PR in the professional world; you can’t just say you’re a good company, you need to prove it.

  24. aunaturalenyc

    This is a funny way of connect our PR world to the world of personal relationships (great tie-in for valentine’s day week). This is very very true. I have a post that sort of ties into this called “emotional intelligence” and it describes how PR is related to emtional connections. PR is a skill that most people should want to understand, even if they aren’t going into this field as a profression. The skills of PR, or just communications in general, are helpful to every line of profession.

  25. Erica Barnes

    This was such an enjoyable blog post! The analogy is perfect, PR really is all about making good impressions and building successful relationships. I especially liked the bit about sustaining good behaviors and maintaining positive acceptance of the audience. This was a great read, particularly for Valentine’s Day.

  26. mdombkowski

    I loved this analogy and can’t believe I never realized how similar PR and dating actually are. The word “relations” is in the title of PR for a reason. It is all about creating connections, maintaining them, and fixing any problems along the way, just like the process of dating. Great example to show the significance and relevancy of public relations in our day-to-day experiences.

  27. Mara Ruocco

    That was such an interesting blog post! This is also a great analogy for those who think public relations is a dishonest profession. Comparing it to a real relationship was clever because public relations is all about reaching out to other people and in relationships people connect with one another.

  28. Alyssa Ciardullo

    I think this is a great analogy and I definitely agree with it. This is a prime example of how public relations is used in everyday scenarios…and most of the time we don’t even realize it.

  29. caliannfornia

    Haha wow! I really like this post. I completely agree with everything you said. Getting flowers is definitely good PR, at least in my personal opinion because it always leaves a good feeling and usually brings a smile onto someone’s face. Even if it is not in a dating perspective but more in just any life situation it’s positive. I usually buy my mother flowers for her birthday, mothers day, and Valentines day. Sometimes even randomly. And every time she receives them she is always delighted. Just like with clients, always leave on a good note and always reinforce it. Never let someone forget the moment you made them happy because they will always be quick to remember the bad moments.

  30. stevenpmorin

    All relationships are PR. In a job interview, you dress up in a suit, bring a fresh resume, and take your dad’s fancy car. On the first day of class, you sit in the front, take detailed notes, and ask good questions. On the first day of an athletic team practice, you push yourself, you rally the team, and do your best to be a leader. Every time you meet someone for the first time you’re making a pitch to them. From then on, like with dating, you must successfully lower the rate of expectations while keeping the customer happy. Act too harshly and you’ll lose the date before its over. Act too sheepishly and you’ll be buying her flowers every day for the rest of your lives.

  31. Lauren Ciuzio

    This was such an interesting analogy! I never thought to compare dating to PR. WIth any relationship, both personal and professional, it is important to build and create a good first impression, maintain that impression, and to fix any issues that arise in a timely, proper manner. Interesting read.

  32. Ian Poulos

    I agree that this is a great example of PR. I have noticed that timing plays an important role in the three aspects of PR mentioned in the blog post, especially when creating attitudes. Relationships – and life in general – often require the “pitch” to be ready within a moment’s notice. Unlike an online dating profile where one can spend a lengthy period of time revising the information before publicizing it, day to day interactions necessitate quick reaction time, and for this reason, a person should have a “pitch” about him or herself ready at all times.

    Imagine being at business event and an executive approaches you asking about your work experience. A person who has already prepared his or her backgrounder, physically or mentally, will sound more professional and impressive than the one who is trying to improvise on the spot. The same applies for relationships. When the opportunity arrives, one should be prepared to “pitch.”

  33. AndreaRebello

    I love the way that you connected PR to dating! I think that this blog is very creative and I enjoyed reading the connections that you made between the two. I never thought of PR in that sense and I thought it was very clever to compare the two, especially since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. I agree with the comparisons made and believe that part of being a good PR person is having the ability to make a good, and lasting impression on someone, similar to what dating is. Loved it!

  34. Erica Mann

    I love this example so much! Dating is all about the total package. Image, the way you present yourself, how you want others to perceive you. When it comes to dating we are the embodiment of PR. We are molding ourselves to showcase our best attributes and downgrade our not so great attributes. For dates we choose nice outfits, we groom ourselves, we try to be witty and charming. All this to make the other person believe that we are worth a 2nd date. Just like PR we want them to buy what we’re selling. And when they do ( dating, monogamous relationship, marriage, etc.) then we have succeeded.

  35. alexis gionesi

    I too have never thought of PR in the context of relationships, but what a perfect connection to make with Valentine’s Day approaching. This example really shows how PR plays a role in our every day lives. The only problem is that when a person is using positive PR in a relationship, their actions may not always be true to who they really are causing them to put on some sort of facade. I think the ultimate successful relationship would be to be with someone who does these from the goodness of his heart, not just how it makes him look!

  36. Helen Masha

    This is a very interesting point cause it just reaffirms how important PR is in our lives. The concept behind PR is to build relationships with people and the way that PR connects a the media to a company or client can be applied to the way our everyday relationships are formed between one another. The flowers act like the “give aways” at a PR event as they are both used to sweeten the relationship. I think boys should take note from this and start practicing good PR!

  37. bluelenex

    Well I think that this is just splendid! I knew that Edward Bernays is the reason we wear diamond engagement rings and that it’s because of PR that we receive flowers on Valentine’s Day, but I really enjoyed this analogy. I think that PR connects wonderfully to a relationship because the same rules apply. Public Relations is all about maintaining and nurturing relationships and this just goes to show that you can’t have good PR without love! (despite all of those haters out there calling us spin doctors!)

  38. Kelly Schnitzer

    I never actually thought about the dating analogy, but it is a very clever way to explain PR to people who are not exactly sure what it entails. Much like a romantic relationship, upholding a professional relationship with your client requires a lot of work, commitment, and trust between both parties. However where it tends to differ between romance and professionalism is that the PR executive is largely responsible in guiding the relationship. Ultimately, if the relationship fails, it could reflect poorly on the PR practitioner.

  39. Nicole Botsaris

    I love this analogy! …Though I’d like to believe that if a date brings me flowers its out of kindness and love rather than straight PR, but I get the point. I believe that essentially, we’re all executing some kind of personal PR every single day. We all want to maintain a positive image of ourselves, and we try to “pitch” or show that idea through the actions we take and the things we do. PR is so relevant in our everyday lives, and this post just brings that point home that even more. As humans, we’re constantly trying to do something better than someone else, and trying to prove to the world that we have what it takes to be successful, and we use PR tactics in order to achieve those things. It’s funny how PR can even be associated with the dating world, and in my opinion… flowers should always be included!

  40. miabrienne

    This is such a perfect analogy! I never saw PR like this but it is a perfect parallel. In PR you want as many people as possible to APPEAL to your client, person etc. In dating, it is virtually the same concept. You try to do everything in your power to avoid conflict/controversy and get people to view you in a favorable light. This blog overall was very creative and interesting to read and I couldn’t agree more with its context.

  41. nikkigyftopoulos

    This analogy just proves even more that PR is truly a part of everyday life, whether you realize it or not. PR is known to be a very widespread and highly needed job in today’s world of constant communication and mass media. Almost every sector of our society needs PR to create, reinforce, and change the attitudes of multiple publics. This analogy of PR in dating shows how you can be using PR and not even realize it. This demonstrates how PR is not only essential, but also unavoidable in everyday life.
    On another note, I also agree with the point that good PR is not just about the positive things you say, but rather its about backing those representations up with positive actions. This directly relates to the popular saying, “actions speak louder than words.” Undoubtedly, this is a true statement and PR must follow by these words in order to be successful.

  42. gmcillo

    Before hearing you explain the analogy of how dating is similar to PR, I would have never put the two together. It is so interesting to see how much of public relations refer to the real world. As being a PR practitioner so much of the job is knowing how to please and impress the client/organization you are working for. It is funny to see that the same effort and maybe even more goes into the dating world!

  43. blarouche

    I’ve never before thought of PR in this manner but I think this shows how PR is something that is always in need. I thought this was a great and unique analogy especially in light of the upcoming holiday.

  44. gionnacerniglia

    This is such a clever analogy! I never thought of PR compared to dating and how it can really change our attitudes. I thought this post is definitely appropriate for this week being that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

  45. Jenny Rowe

    What I love most about PR is that we use it daily in everything that we do, even if you aren’t a PR major! I have never thought about PR in regards to dating, so this was a very interesting concept for me. I definitely agree.

  46. amandaltorres

    I love the connection you made between PR and dating. It’s actually very interesting to think about relationships, and how our attitudes can be changed with one small thing. I guess I’ll have to wait and see what kind of PR I receive/give on the 14th!

  47. Claire T.

    Making the analogy between dating antics and Public Relations causes the cynic in me believe that PR involves quite a bit more spin than PR people are willing to admit. If a boy brought flowers to my mom I’m much more likely to be skeptical of him than excited by the gesture. In the same sense, when I see a blatant PR move by a company I immediately want to know what they’re hiding or trying to cover up.

    1. Sarah Caruso

      I can agree with this. When you are dating someone you want them to see your best qualities, and therefore you must hide your worst. But after being in the relationship for months or years you stop caring about giving off that fake positive image and all your flaws are put out in the open. Its nice to believe that people are using positive PR in dating, but really all they’re doing is creating spin.

  48. EMC

    I have always dreamed of a boy, besides my dad, bringing me flowers. When the subject is broken down and explained like this, it really makes me reconsider the type of guys I date. Maybe I should be going out with PR professionals, haha. Gestures such as these should be expected in a relationship, just as the corresponding ones are expected in PR!

  49. Kellianne

    I have never thought of PR in that context; however, what an interesting comparison! I genuinely liked reading this weeks post. PR is so similar to the dating world. Everything a PR professional does is to impress an audience and receive good feedback from their clients. Being a PR professional you have to know the right way to impress people which is exactly what dating could be referred to! So interesting, loved it.

  50. janabanana12

    I am a firm believer that love is all you need in life, whether it be love for yourself, love for your job, or love for another person. This dating analogy is a prime example of PR, because its basis is equivalent to the set-up of good PR, and then it can always go both ways. Public relations, like many other jobs, is part of everyday life, even for people who aren’t getting paid for it. Humans have so many natural abilities, and even if you’re the person who doesn’t bring a date flowers, you’re still a part of PR…just not the good kind.


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