Balkan Narcissism or PR – PATRICK BRIGHAM LIVE

boiko_borisov_caricature_by_bl4ckb0x-d3gwxerWill Boyko Borisov resign again, or is he there for keeps?

Over lunch at The Russian Club in Sofia, I was once asked many years ago; by a now notable Bulgarian PR figure, what exactly the term public relations meant? After a little thought, I was able to answer- “I believe that if the general public like you, they will probably like your client too.”

Whether an individual or a large company, I believed then – in the early 1990s – that it made little difference, as long as you did not get involved in politics, because that is the cardinal rule!

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I still believe that the moment a PR consultant is seen sharing the platform with a political party, that party- almost by definition – should be a very successful one, necessary  in order to sustain a particular consultant’s lifelong career in public relations, and because we all know there are few guarantees to be found in modern politics.

PR is anodyne, and has to be available to everyone in the social spectrum. Inoffensive, inclusive, and able to communicate at all levels, successful PR should appeal to practically anyone, and this takes a very special expertise. So, why am I interested in the Balkans, apart from the name on the front of The Balkan News Magazine?

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The Balkans is made up of little countries, and as with most little people, everything is a big deal and has to be noticed. Likewise, in the Balkan political arena, there is a tendency to fiercely compete for the public eye. Often meaning that certain people take credit for things they haven’t done themselves, in order to be properly noticed, there is an inclination for these individuals to blow their own trumpet, to brag, and to present themselves as being far more important than they really are.

I have already said that the general public should ‘like’ a particular PR consultant, without prejudice, and as a matter of personal choice, but not in the Balkans. These days, the Balkan PR men like to strut their stuff in front of the media, and by proclaiming that they are now great public figures, they seem to glory in their own magnificence. Sound like someone you might know? Or even a political leader or two, and not to mention Donald Trump?

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Apparently, now is the time for such antics to thrive, and for the emergence of the expression, now called New Popularism.  In our daily diet of half truths, the virtually unprovable, and of course the totally deniable, we are allowed to tell the world how wonderful we are, to subscribe to a fundamental belief in narcissism, and to take as many selfies as we possibly can. So, what has happened to  old and well established values, like modesty,  moderation, and finally the truth?

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Well, if you were to mention the word modesty, in certain Balkan circles, they might say that you probably had much to be modest about. Plus the rider that they don’t have such qualms, because their faculties are in pristine order. There are even those who might also declare that they know absolutely everything there is to know about, well,  everything. Have you ever met someone who knows absolutely everything?

I have, and a rare Balkan character indeed, but easily superseded in number by those who are forced to tell you that they are very clever! But what is it that provokes this great surge of Balkan self congratulation? There are many different theories on the subject, but I think that it is caused by our good old friend, Inferiority Complex; although I am no expert on the subject, and just a humble observer!

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