According to Marian Salzman, CEO of Havas PR North America, the PR industry has become too feminised and needs to look to the Australian PR sector for inspiration in how to operate. The Drum contacted some UK-based PR chiefs to ask their thoughts on her statement.
Molly Aldridge, Global CEO, M&C Saatchi PR
The idea that the PR industry has become too “feminised” and must discover some of the “male energy” and “balls” of Australian PR which Marian Salzman said helped the nation achieve such great success at the Cannes Lions is, in my mind, somewhat short sighted. I believe that PR has rightly championed the female way of doing things for many years now – creating advocacy in the right circles and fostering creativity through a nurturing environment, empowering women to climb the career ladder.Yes I think the marketing industry overall could grow some “balls” and focus more on delivery, incredible consumer impact and getting the job done and less about political correctness but not sure its Australia’s “masculine” balls we need…think it’s simply about encouraging bold, brave creative ideas and storytelling – narrated by men and women…and let’s remember our little island in the northern hemisphere already has a great set of balls – they’re golden.
Kieran Kent, managing director at Propeller
I think there’s a perception problem currently, PR is not a profession known as having a high status. For an industry known for managing relations it seems to be in need of an injection of PR itself. There’s significant qualitative and quantitative evidence proving the value of PR in both B2B and B2C markets. As an industry, it remains essential for us to keep our clients in front of influencers across online, offline and eyeline channels.
Francis Ingham, PRCA director general
While I hesitate to enter into a debate over which countries have the ‘biggest balls’ in PR, I would say that Marian makes some interesting points about how shaking up agency structures can unlock the creativity within the organisation. It’s something that we’re investigating with our ‘Future Of PR’ research project, aimed at helping the industry move forward in the right direction. Speaking for the UK for a moment, as we’ve seen this week on our tour of the nation’s PR agencies, the DARE Awards, the level of free-flowing creative inspiration swirling around this country is not only formidable but world-beating. And if that’s not ballsy, what is?
Sarah Owen, managing director, Pumpkin PR
I agree that PR’s image has become too feminised. In a reverse of the rest of the industry we need more men to start coming forward and being spokespeople. I do not agree with behaving in a macho or ‘male’ way for the sake of it though. It is my simple belief – but true in my opinion – that people should not be judged on what they say but what they do – i.e. results. And this is especially true in PR.