It occurred to me recently that, while certainly it is true that a public relations professional can, and often does, create and lead campaigns for just about any kind of client, I find that in PR, the clients and the practitioner both do better when they are in sync on a strategic and moral level.
The role of the PR practitioner, to advise the client, to lead the client, to represent the client, cannot be accomplished if there is no direct link between them. It is for this reason, that the PR business thrives on referrals. A satisfied client, referring a potential client, is as much an endorsement for the client as it is the practitioner. A client is not likely to refer another client that won't 'get' the practitioner's unique style (and let's face it, every practitioner has a their own special modus operandi).
Harsh economic realities or perhaps greed have driven the introduction of al a carte PR. Purists are understandably offended by such a notion. The concept of "selling" an interview, the notion of serving "first come first serve", the very thought of leveraging hard earned media contacts for a one-of project rocks idealist to the very core.
Are such old-school views just that, old-school? Has a shift taken place or is there still a place for practitioners who believe in their clients and see the financial reward as just that, a reward, and not just as due compensation.
I believe that PR is an art form, and like great art, it is subject to perception, not guarantees. I believe in the integrity of the media. And, I believe that PR is a necessary extension of marketing, which, though a sales activity, is not for sale.