Value added but where next?

After two years of turmoil and in a world that is increasingly uncertain it is good to see that CEOs are increasingly recognising the importance of effective communication. The survey results published today by the PRCA in the The Value of PR shows the strides that have been taken. But we are at a crossroads as a profession and need to keep focused on what we want.

If recent events had not been challenging enough the UK feels in chaos, and the rest of the world is struggling with a series of crises. We have war in Europe, the impact of climate change, and it feels as though we are on the brink of financial collapse. All of this is going to keep testing the resilience of both communicators and CEOs.

We know there will be more occasions where communicators will be working on redundancy communications, where businesses will need to answer questions about their green credentials, and where business dealings will be put under the microscope. No more than ever communication has an important role to play in helping people to make sense of this uncertainty. But we have to be ready to take up that role.

The statistics in the survey don’t surprise me. Well, unless it is the shock that there are still six per cent of those who took part who don’t have communication providing strategic counsel. That really did surprise me particularly on the back of a time of multiple crises. In my work I talk a lot about the importance of communication both strategically and tactically to help navigate through issues, crises and emergencies.

It is not just about delivering communication, writing things, producing videos or many other aspects of tactical communication activity, but it is about using communication as a strand of the crisis strategy. If communication has the right place, it will be able to advise about the impact of the situation, and of the ways the business is planning to address it. It will provide a reputational impact assessment alongside any operational impact assessments. It will find ways to reach out and amplify voices to ensure everyone gets heard.

This Value of PR survey is welcome and provides some hope for the future of the profession and how it is developing. What matters now is that we keep the position we have moved into, ensure we have the skills to last in the strategic position, and ensure the next generation have the right training.

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