Can Publicists Be Friends?

Tension Between CoworkersIn a recent post, fellow PRBC-er Kate, posed the question: “Can publicists and journalists be friends?” It is an interesting issue that elicited a number of responses from our readers. It also made me question if publicists can be friends with other publicists.

During my former life within the music industry, my particular job was extremely competitive and we were all fighting over the same client pool. I met my very best friend on the planet while we both worked at competing agencies. We hit it off right away and we were able to relate to each other because we had the same job. Never once did I feel threatened by him or thought he was out to get me. We had a beautiful, mutual understanding that business is business and friendship is friendship.

However, in these tough economic times where it seems a lot of PR firms are struggling for clients, there are some instances where publicists assume the worst. In the past, I have had PR opportunities that I also extended to other publicists, all for the sake of making the pitch better. Sometimes the reply was friendly and appreciative while other times I encountered defensiveness and an accusatory tone. What exactly am I getting out of it? How do I benefit?

It’s not like I’m going to put on my PR super hero cape and magically swoop up his or her clients – I am merely offering an opportunity that will benefit us both. When I am met with such suspicion where they treat me like I have this deep underlying motive, it gets under my skin. Maybe I am just naïve thinking that all publicists can be friends.

With PRBC, I’m now involved in this great web site with a group of public relations professionals of all walks of life. They work at other agencies but we all have that underlying respect amongst the group, share ideas and learn from each other.

I’m not saying that I want to be friends with  every single publicist on earth (that would be a lot of birthday e-cards), but I am having a difficult time wondering where the hostility stems from. I know for a fact that publicists can work together, whether they are competitors or not. Instead of only seeing the negative in opportunities like these, try looking at the positive, at least for the sake of the pitch.

What do you think readers? Can publicists be friends, or will competition always get in the way? If you leave your PR firm, can you still be friends with the publicists that work there?

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