Why isn’t public relations recognised as such? To quote Autoblog on its report that Ford CEO Alan Mulally spent some time selling cars in a Dearborn dealership:
It’s just cool a CEO would get down in the trenches and actually engage consumers on a showroom floor. There’s no wall of PR behind which he can hide when the tough questions start flying, and apparently he handled whatever came his way with aplomb. Credit goes to Mulally for doing this first, as well. If Rick Wagoner, Tom LaSorda or Jim Press show up to move some product at their respective dealerships, it will smack of a PR stunt and likely backfire. Unfortunately, charm can only take Mulally and his company so far on its path to recovery, so we hope he doesn’t get enamored with a life of retail and gets back to doing CEO-type things quickly.
What Mulally is doing is public relations – establishing dialogue with stakeholders – something that ought to be high up the job description as a “CEO-type thing”. Isn’t it sad that a CEO actually meeting with publics rather than media, analysts and other intermediaries is seen as a stunt and not an essential part of the job.