Public relations is often seen as the bastard step child in a variety of industries: real estate (where people spend millions and millions to build but only a few thousand to market), apparel (hundreds of thousands of tossed samples, but only $6-10K a month for PR), and apparently governments and wars. Media outlets regularly express concern about the U.S. government’s lack of outreach to media outlets, and The Associated Press just ran this article with a subhead about “raising concern about propaganda.” In today’s world, there are many factors at play in a time of war, and governments must spend to influence the public once decisions are made.
I echo those who say money spent on media during war is necessary. I agree with Rep. Adam Smith, who chairs the Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee when he says, “We have got to be involved in getting our case out there, telling our side of the story, because believe me, Al-Qaeda and all of those folks… that’s what they are doing on the Internet and everywhere else.” If the other side is doing it, how can we not reply? As Rep. Smith said “Every time a bomb goes off, they have a story out almost before it explodes, saying that it killed 15 innocent civilians.”
As I stated about a different war, but on a related topic, in another op-ed: countries need to invest in the PR battle as much as they do on the ground for military battle. Public Relations is a big business, and millions should be invested.
Ronn is the CEO of 5WPR and author of best selling PR book, For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations, and a regular contributor to Fox News, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Insights Wired, Everything-PR and more.