25092017

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What 2015 holds in store for PR practitioners

Eva MaclaineThe appetite for authenticity is greater now than ever. People worldwide are sick of overly media trained and on-message spokespeople and are seeking the real deal.

ETHICS

Ethics therefore has a central role to play in our profession today. CIPR members offer a substantial advantage by signing up to a Code of Practice. But international ethical practice is a vast area, the boundaries of which will be pushed by governments, activists and unethical corporations. If we are to mature as a profession, public relations must be a force for good but more must be done to define ‘good’ practice wherever we are in the world.

This will increase in importance as technology moves ever further. Wearable technology, the use of drones and the democratisation of products through 3D printing of almost any product, all bring with them ethical issues, which must fall under our professional spotlight.

PROFESSIONALISM

If practitioners are to become truly professional and claim their rightful place amongst senior management we must lead the way. Here are some fundamentals.

Always consider the strategy first. Don’t leap into a social media campaign just because the client demands it.

Listen to your client or employer. Then listen again. Only then do you stand a chance of supporting the business objectives of the organisation.

Don’t try to impress with outputs (you won’t). Metrics aren’t optional for serious practitioners.

And throughout your career remember to keep developing. Skill up whenever you can. You should aim for lifelong learning. It’s the least you and your clients deserve.

CROSSINGS

That small word ‘cross’ has huge significance in successful global communication. Whether it is cross-borders, cross-cultures, cross platforms or cross-professions we span so many areas, especially in global PR. Where once we talked about geographical boundaries and the cultural differences we perceived between them this has now become just a tiny part of our arsenal when working internationally.

But in many ways we are caught in the middle of two opposing forces: one drawing us towards increasing globalization and the other pushing us into ever more specialized hypertargeting and segmentation. Never before has the conflict between global and local been so obvious and the need to reconcile them so necessary.

Somehow we have to marry those two forces to create a sound strategy and a workable plan which actually reaches the right people, in the right place, through a medium which they value and respect. And have no doubt about it; the complexity of platforms will grow wherever you are.

THE WRONG SORT OF DIVERSITY

Lastly, I make a plea for one trend which I hope will stop. Both the European Communication Monitor and the CIPR’s own State of the Profession survey revealed a disgraceful lack of pay parity between men and women, with the latter identifying a pay gap of over £12,000 in favour of men. This must change.


Eva Maclaine Chart.PR, FCIPR, Chair of CIPR International

This article first appeared in #PR2015, the ebook published by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations.

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