PR: Slowly Shifting From Strategic to Creative?


Stumbling through blogs and websites, I was suddenly hit by an epiphany: Has there been a lack of visual media use within the public relations field because of a shortage of individuals with the experience with software and creative mindset? My mind went off in a million different directions and tangents that I barely knew where to start picking the thought apart.

More often than not, those in the PR field are more prone to think strategically rather than creatively. A Career Cast survey from 2011 revealed that PR is the number two most stressful profession in America (fun video below); thus potentially being a reason why strategic, wordy thinking is default for members of the profession. Creativity takes time, and PR is a fast-paced industry where time is of the essence and cannot be wasted.

Journalistically thinking, magazine and advertising industries are the first that come to my mind in relation to professions that convey messages through pictures, whereas PR uses mostly words. Maybe with the help of social media and the flux of college graduates with experience in creative visual software, we will see an increase of PR using visual media.

At the University of Oregon, all journalism majors (regardless of emphasis) are required to take a two-term class sequence prior to proceeding into their respective pathways. In this sequence, students learn the basics of Adobe Creative Suite, multimedia software, and introduce them to social media. I would imagine that other universities have similar journalism programs and that recent college graduates entering the job market have an additional skill set outside of their degree. Thankfully, I am soon to be one of those adept college graduates.

I am really looking forward to see if, and how, the polished college graduates infiltrating the PR profession create a shift (literally) in the field’s ability to communicate visually. There couldn’t be a more exciting time for PR because visual media, like social media, has already begun to revolutionize and transform PR.

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4 thoughts on “PR: Slowly Shifting From Strategic to Creative?

  1. Great post – It has got me thinking I wish I had been given the opportunity to do some computer design packages when I was a student – it would have made life a lot easier walking into a PR job where you are expected to be everything to do with the media.

    What do you mean by visual media? Films like the 11th Hour and Al Gore’s environmental film – are almost 100% PR.

    • As I’ve been researching this topic, I’ve been trying to get a more thorough grasp on the definition of visual media. I realize that visual media can mean a lot of things and is a very broad term, but when I talk about visual media I’m mostly referring to photography, infographics, illustrations, short-videos, etc.

      • Photography can be done by the PR person especially if you are writing an article for the company magazine. If you have a press release and are supplying images – they will be either taken by yourself or a hired photographer depending on the budget of your campaign. It is easy to use other people but the truth is when there is no money it is up to the PR person to do it or find the cheapest way. All captioning is the PR person. Things that the in-house PR person would be involved with – company website, company blog, image library – both images and dvd coverage. The company DVD is normally done by a production company but it will be up to the PR person to decide what the voiceover will be. There are a lot of things you do in PR that you don’t get credit for. It’s just expected. Working in an agency is very different – you may have specialised people in your agency who only do dvd production. PR is about as broad as saying media. 😉

        The more strategic type of PR is with those higher up in the organisation – the juniors would be involved with the creation of visual media. Social media is very important from a PR point of view and Youtube is a form of visual media used by many PR people. I hope this helps.

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