Tower of PR: Stacks of essential reading for the PR practitioner
2Do we need a PR for PR?
COMMONNESS - Bong R. Osorio (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2018 - 12:00am

September is public relations month in the Philippines by virtue of Proclamation No. 1357 signed on Aug. 13, 2007 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. As such, the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) is tasked to hold a public relations congress every September of every year, with PR practitioners from the public and private sectors in attendance. And one of the best ways to celebrate the month-long occasion is to attend “PR In the Age of Disinformation,” the 25th National PR Congress happening from Sept. 27 to 28 at the Bonifacio Ballroom, Shangri-La at The Fort.

 

This year’s congress theme highlights the key role of PR in reputation management, and in building harmonious relationships and a positive brand image through authenticity, trust and truth. It likewise reaffirms the role of PR professionals as agents of positive change who uphold the ethics, values and standards of the professional practice of PR, above the din of random disruption.

As a salute to PR month, allow me to share top 10 lists of some facets of the PR industry and practice.

The top 10 quotable PR precepts

• “It’s PR that needs to be creative. It’s PR that needs to be new and different. It’s PR that needs to be original. The best way to establish a brand is to create a new category, and creating a new category requires creative thinking of the highest order.” — Al and Laura Ries

• “PR is performance recognition.” — Douglas Smith

• “Everything you do or say is public relations.” — Unknown

• “PR is a mix of journalism, psychology, and lawyering — it’s an ever-changing and always-interesting landscape.” — Ronn Torossian

• “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” — Warren Buffett

• “If I was down to the last dollar of my marketing budget, I’d spend it on PR!” — Bill Gates

• “It is generally much more shameful to lose a good reputation than never to have acquired it.” — Pliny the Elder

• “If you don’t tell your story, someone else will.” — Unknown

• “PR means telling the truth and working ethically — even when all the media want is headlines and all the public wants is scapegoats. Public relations fails when there is no integrity.” — Viv Segal Marketing

• “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” — Daniel J. Boorstin

The 10 manifold challenges of PR

The persistent thought that PR is a “dark art,” while diminished, still persists. These are unmerited and unfair labels indeed and it is up to the industry to correct, if not totally reverse, the impression.

Size or volume of the PR business can’t be accurately sourced. To this day, there are no indicative figures on how much the PR business spends annually, no rankings of multinational or local PR agencies and consultancies, not even the kind of budgets corporate communicators work with to support their deliverables.

 • PR as a business continues to grow steadily. PR multinational companies have established their operations in the region. International advertising agencies with PR services compete forcefully with a number of local PR agencies. One-man bands and “lean and mean” PR consultancy groups are mushrooming, too.

The lack of qualified professionals continues to hound the PR industry. With its strategic function, PR moves beyond earning space and time, as more and more PR heads deserve the distinction of getting invited to be part of their company’s executive committee.

Everything in PR must be measured. Sophisticated PR measurement and evaluation systems are staples. These tools can demonstrate the substantive contribution of PR in achieving an organization’s short-term and long-term goals. 

Research should be on every PR person’s menu. PR requires different research methods to know clients better, define targets more efficiently and choose communication platforms more appropriately.

A good accreditation system can erase competency questions on PR. It calls for the intensification of the value of the Accredited PR (APR), Accredited Business Communicators (ABC) or Certified PR (CPR) title. To eliminate the doubt, it should become mandatory, and appropriate educational qualifications should be secured by practitioners and demanded by employers.

Stronger linkages and collaboration with the academe are essential. Communications programs in universities must adjust their curricula to the demands of the current practice, while PR societies must develop mechanisms that can respond to the expressed needs of the industry.

The creation of a PR board should be marked “urgent.” It should stimulate the leaderships of various PR organizations to help chart the course for the practice, such as defining the general principles and ethical standards for the trade and outlining the implementing rules and regulations of the profession.

A “PR for PR” program can bring a more positive face to the profession. A communications campaign on behalf of the PR profession itself could be considered to build a stronger brand character for PR, a program that will tell and sell the story of PR and make the targeted publics appreciate its importance.

10 most useful PR books

Talespin: Public Relations Disasters by Gerry McCusker

Value-Added PR by Thomas Harris

Creativity In PR by Andy Green

The Fall of Advertising, The Rise of PR by Al Ries and Laura Ries

Putting the Public Back in Public Relations by Brian Solis and Deirde Breakenridge

When the Headline is You by Jeff Ansell

Digital Assassination by Richard Torrenzano

Winning the Story Wars by Jonah Sacks

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath

The PR Writer’s Handbook in the Digital Age by Don Spetner and Merry Aronson

There’s a new PR game to play, but the old game is still there, too. PR pros still need the fundamental attributes and skills — writing and presenting skills, proactivity, human relations and work ethic, as they continue and consistently to bone up on new digital-based skills — use of social network tools, blogger relations, SEO, social media ethics, among many others demanded by a digital economy.

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Email bongosorio@gmail.com for comments, questions or suggestions.

25TH NATIONAL PR CONGRESS PUBLIC RELATIONS SOCIETY OF THE PHILIPPINES
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