Confession of a PR girl.

Being in this industry is tough. There are two types of reaction whenever I tell people what I do. First, the blank face. Sure, they’ve heard of public relations but they don’t really know what it means. A girl who did my manicure actually thought I was a “working girl”, especially after I mentioned that I work from home. She sort of put two and two together.

The other reaction, an “Ohh” with a knowing nod and almost immediately followed by the noise of a wall construction. Yes, I made the latter part up but I swear sometimes I could hear the bricks banging together while they build an arm’s length thick wall between them and I.


Meeting people from the same field is such a learning experience for me. Admittedly, I did not receive any formal training in PR and I’ve only been doing this by myself for less than a year, I literally have so much more to learn. While things could sometimes get pretty rough and I’d find myself 100% lost, sometimes I’m just glad that I had decided to follow my own rules before I’ve familiarised myself with all the bad habits in the industry.

I’m really glad to have met and gotten to know people like David and his equally admirable colleagues who have allowed me see another side of PR that involves no bootlicking or air kisses or overpromising or just-getting-the-AVEs. It’s not about getting coverage without paying for advertisement. It’s about communicating effectively across layers, not just to the media.

I’ve come to a point where I’m very selective with people I work with. I’d rather help my clients to slowly but surely build a positive reputation rather than frantically gather a bunch of media reps for a single event that I myself barely know about. Has any product or service ever become THE talk of the town after one kickass launch anyway? The day after the free booze and massive media coverages, who remembers still?

Yes, it’s not easy on the bank account but at the end of the day, all I really want is this: When I tell people what I do, (1) they won’t think that I’m a prostitute or (2) not recoil in horror with assumption that I’m a two-faced witch who are just smiling for something in return.

12 thoughts on “Confession of a PR girl.”

  1. kimberlycun i give u cupcake!

    and i promise to come back after i graduate and start a paper where i will forever give you free space for your events!!!

  2. when i grow up, i wanna be like you? teeheehee…

    things have started to heat up in my course, theories are getting deeper and a lot of things that i didn’t expect to face when studying PR have been surfacing up. makes me think twice about my chosen subject. but this post came up and it was refreshing to read what you think about PR as a person from the industry and not the stereotypical thinking that people has. the other side of PR? i hope, after i leave the mundane walls of my college, that i’ll see more of that beautiful side than being pushed into the ‘social norm’ of what exactly is PR.

  3. i still canot get over the job title in chinese when u tell ppl u r a PR person. “gong guan” (mandarin) is not exactly nice-sounding when u wanna sound all pro and stuf.

    i find it hard to genuinely be nice to anyone who is all grumpy all sulky at any event. (and most ppl in the industry-media or PR or advertising- hate to go to events eventho got free booze and crap. thats why the new target:bloggers. coz they are cheap in more ways than one. u know what i mean :P)

    u r damn lucky to have clients who are able to accept ur communicating effectively stance and put more emphasis on it than the old skool thinking of getting as many media coverage as possible.

    im glad for my stint in a very old-fashioned PR agency which now opened a lot of doors for me in other things. too bad the chemistry is not there. too old skool liao!

    it will only get better mah. no worries. no training in anything just takes a little more time. doesnt mean canot do it. go by instincts lor! right or not? :D

  4. I try telling girls I meet that I’m a gigalo, but they seem to guess I’m an IT geek! :-)

    ‘Has any product or service ever become THE talk of the town after one kickass launch anyway?’

    Dabido’s world tour of KL. :-)

  5. suanie: thanks woman

    pinkpau: i want strawberry one pls. just the fact that you even thought of doing that for me…*sniff* i <3 LSA

    yahui: enjoy your studies babe, don't rush to work lor hehe. i'm sure you'll make a very good pr practitioner :)

    naeboo: gong guan hehehe wish there was a better term. actually, i think that's where quite a few PR ppl who made these fatal mistakes with bloggers, by treating them as though they're the 'cheaper' media. i don't subscribe to it, i think everyone should be treated with respect and without prejudice, be they traditional media or new media. that said, this does not mean both medias to be rendered the same and equal treatment or expectations, as at the end of the day, they're both very, very different premises.

    dabido: you're the man!

  6. gong guan always get my relatives spinning their heads over the sex industry when i told them that’s what i was studying. lol!!

    but nevertheless, i admire the working ethics of a pr as i came out from that course, work partially in the field and also work with you, of cuz kim! ^^

    let’s change the perception of the term PR together.

  7. Hey Kim,

    I’m beginning to embark into the world of freelancing too. Taking baby steps now. Just copy editing to start with. I don’t want to rush into things and get burnt. Like you, I just want to make life more meaningful. No more chasing and being chased at in the corporate concrete jungle.

    Yeah, we all need to put quality back into our lives. With many parts of the world in unstable situations, we never know how long the “good times” would last. Let’s have fun with whatever we’re doing and don’t look back.

    It’s going to be tough. Especially not knowing when your next paycheck is going to come. Whatever it is, be happy with what you do. The people around you will be happy too as you walk in sunshine.

    Go with our hearts :-)

  8. robb: i’m on, robb! jom :)

    amanda: good luck with your endeavours :) yeah, the inconsistent income is something to deal with but the quality of life in return is priceless!

    naeboo: i guess at the end of the day, it’s how you treat ppl or bloggers to begin with. im sure some pr practitioners have had bad experience dealing with bloggers but they ought to reflect on how they approached them in the first place.

  9. I don’t know much about PR or Communication. But you do sound like you know a lot in your industry. I guess you love what you’re doing and I encourage you to keep being good at what you do. You have the talent.

  10. Its not Public Relations, its Stakeholder Management.

    Tell them that you manage the perceptions and expectations of stakeholders in order to create intagible value for your clients. :)

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