Spectacular Flameouts: In PR, Failure Is Not an Option, It’s a Given

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill It is often said that the greatest teacher is failure—for it is only through trying and failing that we eventually learn how to succeed This is especially true in public relations, where the line between success and failure is so blurred and, even worse— subjective. How many times have you felt that a campaign or event was a success, only to be told by your client or boss that it was a failure? “In PR, the goalposts are not always visible, or sometimes they even get moved,” says Larry Parnell, associate professor and director of the George Washington University Masters in Strategic Public Relations program, and principal at LJ Parnell and Associates. Then there are the times when everyone, including yourself, sees an effort of yours as unsuccessful for whatever reason.

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