I had not read this article by Canela titled ¿What if PR professionals went on strike?, but it so happens that this morning, in the meditative space granted to me by the 30km that separate me from my office, I was thinking about something similar. I thought about what would happen if the communication professionals, whether from within organisations or from communication consultancies, we decided to stop.
The first thing that comes to my mind is how this strike would be explained on a TV news programme; How do you count that they stop doing what they do, people who don’t know what they do? It would be fun;
I have then tried to give a brief overview of our tasks; If it were true to the process chain, it is likely that the first to be affected would be the media intelligence services platforms (clipping companies), which would see their service interrupted outright; No one would go into their files or extract any data; The information would remain there, in their archives, at a standstill;
If nobody receives the information extracted by the clipping companies, nor prepares it in a way that meets the information requirements of the users, the users would be left without the information they consider necessary for the development of their tasks; Those who would like more information than is readily available to them, should go to each and every media outlet and pick out from all the information that is available what is of interest to them, not only about their own company, but about the company’s activity in connection with current affairs; All this by hand and without technological tools to facilitate the process; The demand for hours of dedication would be infinite; Many would avoid doing so; Therefore, the end customer would be relatively well informed;
At the same time, journalists would find their emails empty (something I’m sure they would celebrate with glee for the first few days) and their phones would stop ringing, which would be very calming for them; Shall we try? They could then focus on talking to their sources (most of them related to company communication departments and consultancies, until then content facilitators), but on this occasion, it will not be possible; There will be no one on the other side; Numerous journalists with no content to put in their mouths;
Of course, many journalists have direct access to primary sources, but they have to find the time and dedication of these sources, which is not always possible; How long would it take to achieve publishable content? Could the media have journalists working on a story for several days?
Our proposed strike would also affect the sources themselves; Part of their time should be devoted to meeting the needs of the media, providing them with information, data, analysis, etc. They should make it part of their agenda to manage their relationship with journalists; In addition, prepare in good time what you want to say, what you can say (especially in regulated markets) and how to say it; In other words, the tasks of a good spokesperson are well done, and this is also done by the communication teams (whether internal or external).Can you imagine what it would be like in companies?
It is possible that the media would then have less information, as there would not have been the collaboration of an unpaid army of content creators, approaches, reporting, documentation and contacts of different spokespersons on different topics that journalists may not have time to think about on a day-to-day basis;
If creators, designers, advertisers, etc. were also involved in this strike, the problem would be aggravated, affecting the media’s profit and loss account, as they would have no advertising campaigns with which to meet their expenses; Nor could they focus solely on the organisation of events, the manna that is transforming the media business model, because there would be no consultants to organise them, no editors to write the scripts or speeches, no caterers, hostesses, audiovisuals – among many other professionals involved – because no one would be in charge of designing the event and carrying it out; The media’s profit and loss account has been hit.
Companies would lose some of their voice, because there would be no one to monitor how the organisation’s target audiences, especially internal audiences, feel and what they need; Nor would they know how to ground their purpose, or how to monitor the delivery of their commitments aligned with their mission and vision; They would not be able to hear what their targets are talking about, or what is being said about them; They would not be able to participate in that conversation despite having as much or more experience than many others;
Publishing groups would not have brand ambassadors either; Those of us who work in communication would stop recommending the reading of articles -whether we have collaborated or not- because they penalise us for this wonderful task of amplifying a joint work; It is as if every time you recommend a book, a film or a song you get a slap in the face in the form of an economic tax; Our heads would explode;
I could go on; I am sure that, if I dig a little deeper, I could reach many more impacts; I don’t know how much of a dystopia this is or could be; What I am very clear about is that for this to happen we would have to empower ourselves, be very clear about our role, value it, be courageous and, most importantly, join forces;
So far, that makes two of us; Will you join us?