无论是作为一项商业职能，还是一门职业，公关都不怎么受重视。市场研究机构eMarketer和美国公共关系协会（PRSA）各自发布的数据显示，美国公司每年在广告上投入1,500亿美元，在公关上仅投入50亿美元。薪酬网站PayScale的计算也显示，广告专业人士比公关同行多挣达75%。基本上所有的MBA项目都提供广告课程，但据美联社（Associated Press）报道，只有约20%提供公关课程。在大众文化中，广告人被赋予强人特征，就像《广告狂人》（Mad Men）的主角唐·德雷柏一样，凭借神来之笔“人生旋转木马”（Carousel）成功赢得柯达（Kodak）幻灯机的项目, 而公关人就像《欲望都市》（Sex and the City）里的萨曼莎·琼斯，似乎除了靠举办聚会为生，别的什么也干不了。
没人比史蒂夫·乔布斯更懂得这一点，他就像关心产品设计一样，亲自过问公关事宜。《华尔街日报》（The Wall Street Journal）《莫博士信箱》专栏作者沃尔特·莫斯博格回忆称：“1997年，（乔布斯）重新出任【苹果公司（Apple)首席执行官）刚几天，就开始往我家打电话。每星期天晚上都打，连续打了四、五个礼拜。”莫斯博格表示，乔布斯的周日电话“是马拉松式谈话，一谈就是90分钟，属于涉猎广泛的私人探讨。”
公关只会越来越更重要。风投公司安德森-霍罗维茨风险投资公司（Andreessen Horowitz）最近任命业内几乎闻所未闻的公关人士玛吉特·温马彻斯担任公司合伙人。【这家风投公司的联合创始人马克·安德森曾创立网景（Netscape），并摘得2012年《福布斯》（Forbes）杂志最佳创投人排行榜（Midas List）榜眼。】
Public relations is not taken seriously as a function of business or as a profession. US companies spend $150 billion annually on advertising and only $5 billion on public relations, according to eMarketer and PRSA respectively. Advertising professionals make up to 75% more than their PR counterparts, as calculated from PayScale data. While virtually all MBA programs offer courses in advertising, the Associated Press reported only 20% offer a course in public relations. In popular culture ad execs are immortalized with powerful characters like Mad Men's Don Draper who positions Kodak's slide projector for success in part by singlehandedlychristening it the "Carousel", while PR execs are portrayed by characters like Sex and the City's Samantha Jones who seem to do nothing but throw parties for a living.
Yet anyone who pays attention to how decisions are influenced knows that public relations is tremendously important.
No one understood this better than Steve Jobs who was as personally involved in public relations as he was in product design. The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg recounted that "within days of [Jobs's] return [as CEO of Apple], in 1997, he began calling my house, on Sunday nights, for four or five straight weekends." Mossberg went on that Jobs' Sunday calls "turned into marathon, 90-minute, wide-ranging, off-the-record discussions".
Jobs's attention wasn't limited to the Wall Street Journal. Former Gizmodo writer Brian Lam Waltertold similar stories of personal emails and calls with Jobs, though that came to an end after Gizmodo controversially bought a missing iPhone 4 prototype.
Walter Isaacson explained in his biography that "The television ad and the frenzy of press preview stories were the first two components in what would become the Steve Jobs playbook for making the introduction of a new product seem like an epochal moment in world history."
Public relations is only becoming more important. Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (its cofounder Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame ranked second on the 2012 Forbes Midas List) recently named PR executive Margit Wennmachers as a full partner, which was practically unheard of in the venture industry.
If public relations is important, why isn't it taken seriously?
Having talked with many CEOs, marketing executives and journalists, these are the reasons I hear for why PR has not been a business priority:
PR's not trackable. It's nice to get covered, but traditionally there's no way to know how that coverage effected the bottom line. It's even more challenging to track how the amount of money spent on PR effects the amount and reach of coverage.
The profession has a bad reputation with journalists. With the invention of email it becameterribly easy to spam journalists with irrelevant messages. This was enabled by software designed to make it easy to mass email journalists and lazy PRs who took advantage of it, which deeply hurt the profession's reputation.