It is a privilege to write my first post as president of the PR Council. Following in the footsteps of Kathy Cripps is a big challenge, but I am exhilarated by the task in front of me. Kathy left an enduring legacy of achievement, and I hope to build on the solid foundation she and the Council staff have established.
My respect for this organization goes back to my days as a PR Council board member and before that, serving on the agency management committee. I always marveled at the way competing firms would join forces in order to tackle an industry-wide initiative or challenge. So I come to this job with full appreciation of our collective strength and potential, and with eyes wide open.
In many ways, I have been training for this opportunity my whole career. I have worked in PR firms since graduating from college, and have held several domestic and international agency positions. My work experiences and various client assignments have allowed me to collaborate with many inspirational leaders and outstanding integrated marketing teams, across local and global markets.
I’ve already started gathering information and listening to feedback from membership and the marketplace. I want to learn more about the firms, the people, the success stories and the issues that are of the most urgency to the public relations business.
The evolution of the public relations has been astonishing, and there is every reason to believe more profound changes are around the corner; therefore we, as the Council, need to be a step ahead. We also need swagger. Competing in today’s hypercompetitive market requires nothing less. With that in mind, here are three areas I plan to focus on immediately:
1. Contemporizing and modernizing the perception of our industry’s ability to lead integrated communications briefs and teams. We want to ensure that the full capabilities of public relations is understood by a multitude of key stakeholders.
We’ll do that by educating more stakeholders about PR: Highlighting and building upon the industry-defining narrative that was created during the PR Council rebrand. I want to find more opportunities to showcase what we do at and around agenda-setting events such as Cannes, SXSW, Social Media Week, through thought leading outlets, and in our everyday activities.
2. Connecting to key communities, including Marketing, CMOs and CCOs in a more deliberate, pronounced way. We must better understand their agenda and become more fluent in their vernacular. One entry point into this conversation is making sure our people are more conversant in areas like data and metrics, and client business goals.
The PR Genome Series was designed with this kind of skill building in mind. It provides a real opportunity to get people talking and thinking differently about PR. Look for different types of enlightened programming from the PR Council in the near future, with an emphasis on how technology dramatically altering communications and how we can leverage this on behalf of our clients.
3. Continuing the work Kathy started on achieving greater Diversity and inclusion in our industry. We’ve made improvements, but not nearly enough. You will see more industry-wide collaboration on this issue in 2016, starting next month when we host a working session that will include several key players from agencies, client organizations and academia.
Data from the most recent member survey indicates that 2015 was a record year for many of our members. This is fantastic news. I want the PR Council to capitalize on the industry’s momentum and to help our members create even greater value for their clients.
A big thanks to our Board of Directors, Chairman Chris Graves and the many committee members who volunteer their time to make the PR Council and the industry stronger and more competitive.
I look forward to working with many of you and your firms during this transformative time to help make our industry even stronger!