Let's go behind-the-scenes of public relations in Barbados!
Did you know that there was a time when it was almost blasphemous for American wines to sit on the same shelves as their renowned European and South American counterparts? Have you ever wondered why we call it the 'Teddy Bear'? Or maybe you've thought about how seatbelts finally became a mainstay in every car manufactured.
Most simply put, Public Relations (PR) is the professional management of a company, organization or famous person's image and relationship with the public. For centuries, PR has been used skillfully by Governments to win wars; purposefully by businesspeople to sell millions of products; and carefully by multi-national organizations to raise funds to save lives.
From all accounts, PR has been a driving force behind many of the biggest moments in the world's history that impact the way we see life today.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons - American President Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt, whose compassion for a bear on a hunting trip in 1902 inspired the creation of the namesake 'Teddy Bear', a children's toy still popular today, and still associated with feelings of compassion and warmth. That's the power of PR.
A whole new world for us to explore
Though well-established in the rest of the world, public relations never really got its footing in Barbados. PR is mainly practiced by individual consultants or small in-house teams, and is often overlooked in favour of marketing and advertising. Of course, it stands to reason that in a region as small as the Caribbean (relative to North America, Europe, Asia or even the Middle East), PR is seen as an unnecessary expense. Small budgets and a monopoly mindset means that most businesses, and governments, don't see the value in dedicating resources to nurturing relationships with their publics. After all, what choice do people have?
But I believe we can, and must, do better. It's time for businesses and governments in the Caribbean to consider their roles in developing their nations, and inspiring a better way of life. PR has the power to improve lives, unite peoples and change the course of history.
That's where I come in.
Let's take Barbados forward
I've been practicing public relations and mass communications now for over a decade in and around the Caribbean, Latin America, North America, Europe, the U.K., Asia and the Middle East, handling accounts for consumer brands such as Joe Fresh, Sandy Lane, and most recently, advising the Government of Barbados in a tourism capacity.
It is my mission to see public relations evolve alongside the very entities that have the potential to make Barbados - and the wider Caribbean - a better place for all. Our supermarkets, banks, even malls, must be a part of this movement.
So, I am inviting you to join me as I document my journey. I'll be sharing stories, campaigns and case studies of PR programmes I'm working on, and their impact on the nation. It is my hope that this blog will educate people about the power and purpose of PR, and inspire my students at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, to aspire to work in areas of media and communications; and to use their voice to make a difference.
I hope you enjoy reading about these experiences as much as I enjoy creating them. Bye for now, and no matter what, keep pursuing your purpose.