Oh one more thing before I end today’s Barnum blog. Dedication is the word that was used constantly by many of the people I interviewed for my book. Whoever I spoke to, whether it was Lord Bell or Bobby Zarem, irrespective of their skill or area of expertise, they attributed their success to a belief in the client and the subsequent commitment needed to create and manage the client’s success.
So going back to the age of the early Stuntster, I realised that the trailblazers had those same motivational genes, but subtly they had a more practical manner. Currently when the financial investment increases the cost of a campaign, a client cannot contemplate failure and wants a homogenised success. A client descends into a state of fear and is unable to enjoy the spirit of adventure; risk is amputated from the body of the craft. and the job mutates. Unbelievably the original publicists did not have to guarantee any results; there was archaic form of trust from the employer that the Stuntsters would deliver. The honest enthusiasm of many of the sons of Barnum was a repayment of that belief.
Currently, it’s very difficult for a publicist to find a client that will engage in this manner. Thank God we have a set of fantastic clients that allow us to work in this way. Why should a client trust a company when previous experiences have not been rewarding? Countless PR pros will use their persuasive powers to woo new business but not use the same energies to deliver the job.
I would argue that eighty years ago there were far more honourable men on the scene. OK, I can hear the sigh of consternation, I am not post rationalising. There is a lot of evidence that would suggest that triumphant campaigns and generous clients were not uncommon.