What PR pros mean when they say ‘business acumen’

Much has been made of financial literacy and business prowess, but what specific skills are industry leaders talking about? A study picked Page Society members’ brains for a consensus.

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“Business acumen” is well on its way to becoming industry jargon, but do PR pros all mean the same thing when they use the phrase?

Turn to any number of industry publications, and you will find a writer opining on the lack of business skills among the communications cohort. Many communicators will guiltily concede that they don’t like numbers—and some will angrily push back on language that they feel lumps them in with marketers.

However, business acumen is quickly becoming a key differentiator for PR pros looking to progress in their careers. As the industry has changed and business leaders have turned to communications experts to help guide policy and business strategy, it has become essential for PR pros to know more than the nuts and bolts of communications tactics.

But what does the industry as a whole mean when it discusses “business acumen”? 

Frustrated junior PR pros might be justified in throwing up their hands at the vague assertion that there is a vast amount of knowledge they lack—and no clear definition for how to go about filling in the gaps.

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