‘Is PR Too Liberal for it’s Own Good?’

Chris Daniels at PR Week: “It’s not surprising to learn that PR pros, as a profession, are statistically more progressive than the U.S. population. Many communicators are also more liberal than the general population on issues of politics, society, economics and safety. That difference is massive, especially when it comes to political ideology.”

“Practitioners overwhelmingly self-identified as ‘progressive’ (68%), followed by ‘centrist’ (25%). Only 7% identified as ‘conservative’ when it comes to their politics. That’s a stark difference from the U.S. population. Only 26% of the general populace identifies as ‘progressive.’ More of them self-identify as ‘conservative’ (34%), 27 percentage points higher than PR practitioners.”

“’That measure on political ideology indicates the most risk for PR professionals and campaigns,’ says … Jennifer Scott, a clinical assistant professor for PR and corporate communication at NYU’s School of Professional Studies. Scott spent 17 years at Ogilvy, including in thought leadership, comms counsel and research and insights roles, and three years at Edelman. She says PR pros understand they’re operating in a politically polarized environment in the U.S., and audience research can lead them down a dangerous path.”

“’The danger is they see that Gen Z and Millennials, in particular, want brands to take a stand, and so even research into target audiences isn’t necessarily likely to temper the tendency to go very progressive,’ says Scott. ‘It may take a brand to a place that seems mainstream, but that, in fact, triggers a momentum of polarization. Then the brand is in trouble.’” 

One thought on “‘Is PR Too Liberal for it’s Own Good?’

  1. I’m curious about the generational breakdown of progressive/centrist/conservative identification–this info from Pew (https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2019/01/17/generation-z-looks-a-lot-like-millennials-on-key-social-and-political-issues/) suggests that younger generations definitely skew progressive. If brands are courting a particular demographic or looking to build lifetime loyalty among consumers, it may in fact make perfect sense to take a stand, even at the risk (maybe especially at the risk) of alienating other groups. I think a brand trying to be all things to all people dilutes it, personally.

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