Weber Shandwick‘s president of digital Chris Perry addressed the headlining question in a Forbes article inspired by a recent conference on the future of media and PR. Here’s the issue as he sees it:
“The continued, misguided belief that marketing and PR teams are smarter than people they are trying to reach.”
A common complaint made against media “elites” and board members alike is that they underestimate the intelligence of their audience. Does PR have the same problem? Here’s a key quote from media critic Douglas Rushkoff, whose new book Present Shock is an analysis of the current state of things:
“This is an industry fathered by a man — Ed Bernays — that believed that people were too stupid to run their own lives.”
That stings. But how many times do we remind ourselves to keep the message simple so the public understands it?