PR Week’s latest opinion column is fundamentally wrong about the value of professional passion.

Newspaper-turned-PR man Ian Monk argues that communications agencies promoting passion for their work are not only unoriginal but inappropriate and unprofessional.

Now, I agree that the most important attributes of any professional consultant are expertise and experience. Passion is no substitute for these. On its own, it’s never enough.

I’d also concede that too many PR agencies may well declare their passion up-front in their marketing materials, making the adjective clichéd and preventing the attribute from being a distinctive selling point.

But he’s wrong to brand passion as ‘trite’ and imply that, in some unexplained way, it’s low-grade and grubby – “better suited to the amateur dramatist whose enthusiasm embraces the West End but whose ability never will.”

Skill and experience are certainly vital, but the addition of genuine passion in any professional field can only be a huge bonus for a consultant’s clients. Driven forward by such zeal, the consultant will surely deliver their skill with dramatically more spirit, rigour, commitment and creativity; provide a far higher quality of service; and be much more fun to work with.

Monk sneers that “most lawyers, surgeons and accountants would disdain the question of whether they’re passionate about their business.”  He appears to think this only proper – and to wish communications professionals were equally disdainful.

He’s misguided on all fronts. Passion, combined with high skill and deep experience, is a powerful combination in the communications business – as in all professional fields.

If I needed a vital operation and was faced with two equally-skilled surgeons, but only one was passionate about saving lives, I know who I’d choose.


What do you think about passion in professional fields – low-grade and grubby, or an essential extra ingredient for an outstanding service?