The Cuffs of PR

“Cuffing season” on college campuses is rough. According to AskMen , cuffing season is the direct or indirect want to pair up with someone for the winter months – while AskMen may not be an authority on many things, I’ll give it credibility on the pseudoscience that is ‘cuffing’. Regardless if you believe in the phenomenon or not, it’s undeniable that during the winter months, friends are hanging out with those who they are romantically interested in more.

Not expressing visible frustration with this significant-other-first thought process is, honestly, the ultimate PR. Have I told the friend who can’t seem to separate herself from her boyfriend for long enough to shower that she should give her friends twenty minutes to catch up? I haven’t, for my own sake. This mirrors PR strategies in so many ways, and debunks an bulk of the misconceptions that the field of Public Relations has behind it.

People think PR is an inherently slimy field, where things are either insanely mean or two-faced, while the actual practice of PR is the furthest thing from it.

If we’re continuing on the relationship allegory, people misconceive PR as the sleazy guy trying to pick you up at the party – he’ll try to tell you what you want to hear and he’ll definitely be lying to you. Charming and unable to be trusted, PR is misinterpreted as purposefully deceitful. The thing is, it’s not.

While some PR professionals may eventually delve into things that the public views as unsavory – lobbying, doing work for companies that aren’t viewed favorably by the masses, the profession of public relations shouldn’t be represented solely by these ‘taboo’ parts of the field.

According to PRSA, the leading authority on pretty much anything related to PR (it IS the ‘Public Relations Society of America’), “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.” It’s a two-way street, PR buys into people as much as people buy into PR. Like hippos and the oxpecker bird, a notorious symbiotic relationship, PR and people are mutually beneficial to one another.

I’m fully aware that anyone in the PR field can be dragged into companies with itchy moral values, but at this point in my schooling, I’ve realized I’d love to, eventually, do PR internationally, with cultural research as a firm background – I feel one of my strongest traits is my empathy towards others, and being able to discover and direct communication towards and with other cultures sounds like a dream job for me.
So maybe understanding and empathizing with, overall, the relationships that bind college students together for the four months of winter quarter is an inherently smart thing to do. Not only does it mesh well with the field of PR by being generally neutral when you haven’t seen one of your best girlfriends for over a week despite living a short walk away, but it also reflects my own hopes and dreams of evaluating and communicating through different countries cultural values. Cuffing season maybe isn’t that rough.

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