All that Glitters Is Not Gold: The Tough Side of PR

by Mark Firmani

June 28, 2016

Working alongside our many successful clients, we get great satisfaction in seeing the contribution of our work. Being part of a productive, vibrant client/agency relationship is truly one of the reasons I enjoy our work so much.

But often we are called upon to help companies – and to a much lesser extent individuals – weather tough situations. We’ve worked on a lot of difficult issues in our 22 years: kids sickened by contaminated beef; companies brought down by the illegal or improper actions of its leadership; businesses caught in economic sea changes that force them to make difficult choices in their attempts to keep operations afloat.

In each of these instances, we’ve always told our clients that the fastest, safest and most direct way out of a crisis is to be abundantly transparent and completely honest. Generally speaking, as a culture we are willing to forgive (and forget) as long as people are straight up and honest. Conversely, organizations that try to gild the lily, attempt to slide by with half-truths or point fingers in other directions are in for rough sledding.

What I am saying is the work we do as professional communicators isn’t all upbeat and fun. In fact, some of the work we have to do is downright crappy.

Recently we helped a client through a tough situation, culminating in a horrible day; having to break the news to their staff that the company was closing their operations after being a vibrant part of the community for many years.

Through a set of unimportant circumstances, colleague Annie Alley and I were tapped to help hand out WARN notices to understandably shaken and often tearful employees. The company did everything they could to do right by their team members, with extended job placement assistance and generous severance, but it was a dark day for all involved. It was a humbling experience for us, but not nearly as impactful a day as it was for those on the other side of the table.

For those who are considering a career in communications, just remember what the Bard said: “All that glisters (cq) is not gold.” PR and communication work is not all happy stuff.

Mark Firmani
About Mark Firmani
Mark Firmani leads Firmani + Associates as its founder and president, setting the tone for the firm and its team of skilled practitioners and marketing specialists. He brings nearly 25 years of PR expertise, business communication strategy, marketing savvy and political experience to every aspect of the firm’s operations. Mark defines the strategic vision of Firmani + Associates within each of its practice areas and provides senior-level counsel to client partners representing a diverse range of industries.
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All that Glitters Is Not Gold: The Tough Side of PR