I run my own business and have a household to manage: so the minutiae are all-consuming. It’s incredibly important sometimes to step back and think about the bigger picture. So I took seven pages of notes when Paul Holmes spoke at the Future Communicators Accelerator programme last week. (Thank you Natalia Bucelnikova!)
Here are my top ten from more than an hour of inspiration that made me proud of what I do. Hope they help inspire you.
- PR is about public relations. That word is important.
- We have over the years started defining itself by channels and tools – content development, social media, media relations and so on. In actual fact, anything that has to do with establishment of a relationship with a stakeholder falls under the category of public relations.
- We say that PR has changed, but in fact the principles of PR have not changed at all, the only thing that has changed is the cost of doing things badly – companies get discovered / exposed faster, and punished more severely.
- In any relationship what you do is more important than what you say. For good public relationships, what counts is what the organisation does. So PR is not about communicating policy, it is about setting it.
- PR people need to force themselves into the room when policy is being made rather than being relegated to spinning it after the fact. Many many crises are caused by decisions that did not consider the relationship implications, and this must change.
- All employees from the top to the bottom of any organisation must understand that PR is their job too, and employees must be empowered to make decisions based on the company’s values. This is not easy for an organisation.
- Given the accelerating rate of crisis occurrence, over the next few years PR will reach inflection point and become indispensable at the highest levels of an organisation.
- PR people must love and embrace data. Data leads to insight, which leads to strategy, which leads to value. They must get better at measurement that aligns with business goals – and for heaven’s sake, don’t get bogged down with the obsession to isolate the impact of corp comms, marketing, or whatever. That’s a waste of time.
- They need more curiosity about what stakeholders think, what people are doing, what is the public mood, how to adapt ourselves to suit.
- PR people need more courage and compassion: it is down to them to bring the voice of the stakeholder into the room, and oftentimes they are the only people who must tell the CEO what he does not want to hear.