I have been doing a lot of thinking about the role of public relations in businesses and organisations. Is it the same as it was 10 or 20 years ago? What does it exist to achieve? How can it be the best? At the start there has to be the consideration of whether PR is solely about managing reputation.
It is interesting to consider whether PR is only about managing reputation, and I am sure in some places that is what defines it. However, for me it has to involve much more than just reputation, it is also about honest conversations, engagement and developing two way discussions. There should be no boundary to how and where it operates in an organisation.
Communication touches every part of the organisation, and should touch every part of the organisation. It needs to be at a strategic level sitting in the boardroom but also be within the frontline service delivery. It can solve problems for people but also bring vital data and information back to help develop the business. When it is truly effective it has a feedback loop built in and things change on the basis of the ongoing conversation.
It isn’t easy for an organisation to really support this two way conversation but when it does there is a huge amount to be gained. Digital and social media developments have given more ways to develop this model of communication but we have to have the mindset and behaviour to make it work.
Reputation does remain important but there is so much more to the development of effective communication. There has to be honest conversations, a willingness to listen to customers, service delivery and development, and it all has to be brought together in an integrated way.
When we arrive at work and face the daily tasks and jobs to do I am sure we don’t consider the theory behind what we do. But it is important to spend some time to review what we are doing and whether we could be doing it better by taking some elements on board.