Fear not, public relations professionals — everything’s great.
At least that’s the assessment from Management Today
reporter Jeremy Hazlehurst, who proclaims in a recent feature
that the PR profession is stronger than ever.
Hazlehurst points to the number of communications professionals who are finding themselves at the executive level (or at least with a direct line to those who are).
According to Hazlehurst:
“PR people are starting to make it to the top of businesses. John Fallon, ex-corporate affairs chief at publisher Pearson, will become its CEO next year. At pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline, Duncan Learmouth, ex-head of global communications, took charge of a new emerging markets division in 2010. The director of the Institute of Directors is Simon Walker, formerly of City spinners Brunswick. And our prime minister was once head of comms for Carlton Television.”
But it’s clear the profession’s future—even in the job market—lies in social and digital. Hazlehurst writes:
“… At consumer-facing companies, PRs might well be 'content generators,' engaging customers on Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter. One PR firm is said to run 130 Facebook pages. Take a glance at the jobs pages in PR publications and words like 'social' and 'digital' regularly crop up.”
This means that PR pros are increasingly being tapped to build relationships not just with reporters, but the public itself. In fact, one of the article’s most salient points comes from Jane Wilson, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. She astutely remarks that public relations, because of social media, has become a public relationship
“Probably for the first time in its existence, PR is doing what it says on the tin: it is not third-party intermediary relations, it's actually public relations,” she tells MT
While Hazlehurst seems to think that PR has adapted to social media’s rise, I wonder whether it’s still too early to tell. By now, it seems most companies understand that social listening is a key component to monitoring brand reputation. But few are showing spectacular results with it.
Still, Hazlehurst’s article is an interesting read, if only for its sheer, joyous optimism for the current and future state of the PR profession.
Read the story at Management Today
(via The Holmes Report