So, is PR in its traditional perceived form dead? Not a loaded question in the slightest! Three things have got me thinking about this – completing the CIPR Diploma, climbing Snowdon, and starting on the CIM Diploma.
The more reading I did around PR while studying for the Diploma (and the Certificate before it), the more I realised that PR in its strictest perceived form just does not – or should not – exist anymore. PR professionals (and I use that word deliberately) do not just wine and dine journalists or massage egos. Our role is – and should be – so much wider.
The PR profession (again, a deliberate choice of words) has a PR problem. While we may have developed professionally to offer clients so much more than the PR practitioners of the early 1900s with their publicity campaigns – we are not telling people about it. And, when we do, they don’t understand our jargon.
Our trip up Snowdon got us all thinking about what it is we actually do – what benefit do we offer our clients? Our vision, mission and values have been clearly defined for some time (has everyone seen our brand onion?) but how we crystallise that into a service offering that clients actually understand has been a longer process.
We subscribe to the CIPR’s definition of PR – it is about reputation; the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. We feel this covers the holistic nature of the PR profession – defining your cause and then integrating your communications so that your messages and values are consistent across all media and to all audiences.
This is where the CIM Diploma comes into it. The reading I’ve done over the last two months has highlighted just how much we do that extends outside of the traditional realm of PR.
While we do not profess to be HR people or business management consultants, we do know how to use communications to achieve buy-in from all parties – internal and external – and how to use that for competitive advantage (the holy grail as defined by the CIM).
So, open to debate, “we are business communications problem solvers” – succinct and to the point? Or vague and yet more jargon? Does it actually accurately convey what we do? Or is it just another way of hiding behind words while we try to articulate clearly the value that we add?