4 mai 2004

PR and business sense

I've long been a proponent of adding some business sense to the PR business. A lot of what, historically, PR professionals have been doing has been fueled by intuition.

More and more, I've been pushing clients to do a lot of research, both before and after major campaigns, as well as on an ongoing basis (with the implication that that has on their budgets). I've also had numerous arguments with colleagues and bosses about the fact that PR has to become more rationale-based, rather than only emotion-based.

Well, an article published in the April edition of The Gauge, published by Delahaye Medialink Worldwide vindicates my point.

In the article, William C. Heyman, President and CEO, Heyman Associates (one of the US leading senior-level communications executive search firms), argues that "mong the items often singled out as absolutely essential for success in today’s environment, especially in public relations, was a strong sense of the business of business (and) the need to be 'measurement oriented.'"

Mr. Heyman also writes:

And that’s where intellect— knowledge and judgment—directly come into play: understanding business, knowing how communications fits into corporate objectives, and determining and measuring how communications can help advance the organization.(...)

Given the corporate environment in recent years, hiring managers and human resources executives are as interested in “what” a candidate knows, as “who” the candidate knows in the media, the investment community, government, community organizations and other audiences. (...)

Communicators today must be able to show how the communications groups, across disciplines and across the corporation, are working together to provide the company with a return on investment (ROI). They need to be cost-effective and efficient in delivering on goals and objectives.(...)

While the idea of having solid research to support communications objectives or the need to find better ways to deliver on objectives, are not new, management emphasis on these needs is increasingly being underscored. Senior management more frequently looks at communications budgets and asks the same type of ROI questions they put to the rest of the company.

Further, the more resource-intensive and important the communications project or strategy, the more a senior executive must show the research and justification behind the decision to support that project. Or not to support the project. (...)

It’s the real-world business understanding, experience, and hard-evidence, case-study research, that hiring managers and others involved in the hiring process—from the executive recruiter to the client—want to see and hear about when they are seeking the top communicator.
Students, in particular, should go read the whole thing.

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