A friend of mine asked me if I had seen the recent PRWeek Salary Survey (February 26, 2007). She was curious whether I had seen the chart that reported that the median salary of pr professionals charged with reputation management was higher than all other disciplines (community relations, financial pr, brand management, crisis management, marketing communications, public affairs, government relations, internal communications). In fact, the salary for reputation pros was considerably higher than its fellow pr practitioners. Wow.
This is news to me for several reasons. Most pr practitioners fall into practices of excellence such as corporate/financial, public affairs or brand marketing. If you look at the web sites of most public relations firms, they clearly spell out their practices and specialities. Most people identify with their practice and area of expertise. A brand management professional is not likely to identify with the public affairs professional. A financial services professional is not likely to identify with the internal communications professional. As a rule, I do not run into many exclusive reputation management practitioners like myself. That is why I was so surprised to see 122 professionals reporting on their salary as a member of reputation management. Apparently everyone believes that they are managing reputation when it gets down to it. In a way, they are right. I stand corrected if that is the case.
However, as a reputation strategist at Weber Shandwick, I spend nearly all my time on reputation matters and live and breathe the topic. I wonder how many pr practitioners can say that they are 100% dedicated to strengthening, researching, building, and repairing reputations.