Karoline (with a K) has time on her hands - which turns out to be dangerous. As most of our hours in the office these days are occupied by social media projects - largely spent tweeting unnaturally colourful pictures of puppies sitting next to our clients’ products - she finds herself at a loose end. Karoline doesn’t ‘do’ social media. And so, in an effort to fill a day, she takes herself off to a ‘PR thought leaders’ conference, oblivious to the oxymoron.
This has catastrophic effects, because when she gets back, apart from complaining about the cost of employing us, which is the sort of thought that leaders often have, apparently, she immediately bans the use of surveys in our campaigns. You can see why we’re concerned. Attaching a survey to a project (often entirely unrelated to what the client actually does) is an easy way to make a £1,000 mark-up and has the additional but rare benefit of actually generating some news coverage. K seizes on this, flourishing a Daily Mail survey claiming we all spend £110 a month on takeaways, with a throwaway mention of some voucher code company at the end. “Where’s the relevance in that?”, she barks.
“That’s not the point,” ventures Miranda, bravely. “The economy will collapse if we don’t keep doing surveys. Journalists rely on them to fill newspapers. There are whole research companies dedicated to generating hundreds of PR surveys a day - they would go bust. PR as we know it would cease to exist!” Any chance of even a 1.9% pay rise this year evaporates at this point, as K, fixing us with a chillingly steely stare, says that “we’re going to do PR properly from now on”. We’re stepping into the unknown.