Imagine a world where all lawyers were judged by the standards of those that defend wealthy criminals. Or doctors by anti-vaccine nut-jobs. Or journalists by cowboys distorting the truth for populist rags. It happens, but not always.
Yet communicators are continuously being collectively judged by the lowest standards of their profession. I’ve been reading Bob Hoffman’s Ad Contrarian and recently finished Robert Philips’ Trust Me, PR is Dead. Judging by their writing, you’d think all digital marketers and PR professionals respectively were snake-oil peddling incompetents. And I don’t know how many pieces I’ve read by journalists describing the ineptitude of PR professionals.
No doubt communications is flawed. We have no professional standards, which means everything from quality of output to hiring can be arbitrary. As can evaluation. A doctor’s success is largely judged by whether they are able to cure patients. It’s not quite that clear-cut in our profession given that we do not always define success and measure ROI (although we should). As a result, some poor practices seep through, unfortunately.
But all communicators I know are ethical. Most know what they’re doing and provide value to clients. Some are even very talented. However fashionable it is to deride the entire profession, I suspect most would agree.