It is easy to become daunted by the pace of change in public relations. In fact there’s lots to celebrate. Practitioners around the world are helping to drive the profession forward.
I’m currently standing in the election for CIPR President in 2018. Here are eight standout data points and industry initiatives that I'm aware of that make me hugely optimistic about the future of the public relations profession. As President I’d look to celebrate this work and share it with members.
1. Community of practice
Social media is helping bring together theory and practice in public relations. Academics, teachers and practitioners are working closer together than ever before. Shared events and media are helping create a community of practice. The work of the Institute of Public Relations in the US is a stand out example.
2 Strategic purpose
Data from the European Communication Monitor collected from 2007 to 2016, shows that technology and demands from business and society have changed communication management dramatically. Organisations increasingly align communications with their strategic purpose.
3. Return on investment
Thanks to the work of AMEC we have a standard workflow for planning and measuring campaigns. The Integrated Measurement Framework links organisational objectives to communication objectives, to outputs, outtakes, outcomes and organisational impact. AMEC has published a comprehensive website of resource material.
4. Competency models
Time served is the typical measure of competence in public relations. The Global Alliance recently published a global competency model. All it needs now is greater adoption as a standard by organisations and industry bodies such as the CIPR. Practitioners need to sign up to continuous professional development (CPD).
5. Professional development
The market for training and qualifications has shifted in the last decade from one off qualifications to CPD. The CIPR is seeing greater demand than ever before for Chartered assessment. CPD completions are rising year-on-year.
6. Growing market
The UK public relations market is worth almost £10 billion according to the PRCA’s 2015 Annual report. It employs 62,000 people in consultancies, in-house roles and freelancers. According to the CIPR State of PR survey average earnings have risen from £45,633, to £48,196, in the last 12 months.
The Taylor Bennett Foundation is tackling the imbalance in BAME candidates in public relations in the UK. Meanwhile the CIPR and PRCA are both tracking and tackling the salary gap between men and women in public relations. These would both be campaigning issues for me as CIPR President.
8. #FuturePRoof: public relations as a management discipline
Finally a mention for my own project. In the last two years more than 70 practitioners have contributed to two editions of a crowdsourced book exploring the journey that public relations is making from a tactical craft to a management discipline.