Can an Identity Crisis Be a Good Thing?

jayme-soulatiA new year gets many of us thinking about refreshing our brand. Beyond just “new year, new you” thinking, can we evolve how we position our services as the industry shifts and our desired clients change? Solo PR Pro community member Jayme Soulati says yes, and in this guest post she shares her personal experience.

Have you morphed recently? You know what I mean…when PR peeps become more than just a chameleon and morph into a new identity? I’ve done this many times over the years.

Since my earliest days in Chicago's PR agencies, I've been trying to peg myself. When I was a pure PR'ist, pitching media like a good media relations guru should, I was in media relations. That moniker set me apart from the straight PR shooters because NO ONE, and I mean absolutely NO ONE wanted to limit themselves to pitching media. Me? I liked the thrill of the catch myself, especially when I snared the Wall Street Journal a few times.

I digress.

The social media explosion wreaked havoc on public relations professionals' identities. About three years ago, when the term “PR” took the brunt of rock throwing from all angles, many of us removed PR from our titles completely

I was a B-to-B social media marketer.

Often, the college kids out of school didn't know they were in public relations because academia never used that title in their schools or their degrees. Bad form; and it caused many a newbie to the profession to launch careers not knowing who they truly were. Sad.

When PRSA tried to redefine public relations, I took the bull by the horns and “Soulati: Help PRSA Define PR” jumped into the fray. At that time, I was blending PR with marketing and social media.

Enter early 2013, and the Big Data volcano with optimization, SEO, and digital marketing with analytics. Guess what happened to my title then?

I became an “Old PR + New PR” hybrid public relations professional who could do a little bit of it all. I’m still using that in places, but who understands what that means?

After writing my book on Message Mapping, I updated my LinkedIn profile to say I'm a Message Mapping Facilitator (I think).

Then, just about a week ago, I was speaking with a prospect, and out of the mouth came this, “I'm a public relations marketer.”

I think I'll try that one on for size a few weeks.

Cool Titles

How about you? Got any other cool titles to help beef up your identity? How about copywriter, integrated marketer, SEO PR girl, corporate communications dude, or PRist?

What I'm trying to say, and maybe you didn't get it too loudly and clearly, is this…

Be absolutely proud of the profession in which we've landed because everyone wants to know what and how we do it. We have the secret sauce that drives strategy, marketing campaigns, creativity, and planning. When we add on new training in various areas it just makes us more formidable. While I do agree we get slapped with a bad brand, when you do it right and with high standards, you can keep the chin up and shoulders back.

Oh, and BTW and P.S. and stuff? This is not really about YOUR PR identity crisis; it’s all about mine.

How about you? What are some of the tag lines and positioning statements you've used, and how have they changed over the years?

Jayme Soulati is president of Soulati Media, Inc. and an award-winning professional blogger. For 30 years, she's been loving public relations with the opportunity to do something different every single day.