An Interview with a PR Proffesional

16 Mar

As an 80 year old male, Ron Cornette is not the person who comes to most people’s minds when they hear “PR professional.” Not only has public relations recently become a career dominated by women, but it has also become a career associated with younger people, although the Father of Public Relations Edward Bernays stayed active in the field well into his later years. Cornette is formidable, as he runs market classes and training sessions for about 200 Wagner Realty agents at 10 offices. Cornette gives about two or three training sessions daily. His job also includes planning office events and giving presentations.

Writing a number of training courses of his own is one of Cornette’s biggest professional accomplishments. The State of Florida Commission has accepted a program of his as an official training course of marketing and PR professionals.

Lately, Cornette has been as busy as ever. In a buyer’s market, agents continue to sell enough real estate, especially to those who have stayed afloat in these tough economic times. The biggest challenge for being a PR person in real estate right now is not finding buyers, with prices below the normal value. It’s thinking about the buyers’ financing, as it is hard to get a loan.

Despite logistics and the economic recession, Cornette loves his position in PR with the company Wagner Realty. “What I am doing can be done at any age,” says Cornette. “You just have to have a business structure and a business plan.”
Over the years, Cornette has learned a lot about planning and presenting, and he has some advice to offer. “When working in corporate PR, you have to think about why someone would want to do business with the company you are representing and buy their products. Why should they hold the idea that that specific company is the one to turn to?”

Cornette expands on what he said by using an analogy with apples. “Lots of people sell apples just as lots of companies list houses. You are responsible on communicating to the public that these apples are shinier, kept in better conditions, bigger, juicier, and more appealing than the other apples.”
In PR at Wagner Realty specifically, there is a lot of coordinating with marketing people to ensure that the photographs and the written fliers for the houses are appealing to the public. The job also involves reaching out to the public and continuing to present the listings in a favorable light. “Sometimes people still don’t realize you’re selling good apples unless you tell them about it,” says Cornette.

Cornette also advises that anyone going into the field of PR or marketing develops good writing skills. Cornette points out that in this era of texting and auto-correct, spelling has shortcuts and seems almost irrelevant. However, in reality there is no excuse to lack knowledge in grammar. “I proofread pamphlets, and I must say that I find some of the mistakes appalling,” says Cornette. He commented that PR is still a business of words. “Before putting anything out to the public, make sure that it not only has proper grammar and spelling and syntax, but that it is also something that can be read and remembered.”
I enjoyed conducting this interview with a man with such a dedication to his field that he continues to host meetings and conferences at his age. I chose my journalism/PR major for the journalism aspect, knowing very little about PR. I still am content in my choice in journalism rather than PR as a career path, but it did further enlighten me that the passion for words and the passion for people are alive in PR as well as in journalism.

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