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#FuturePRoof: an uplifting vision for the future of public relations

Sarah Hall’s #FuturePRoof project has brought together 30+ thinkers and doers in an uplifting study of the future of public relations.

future-proof

Public relations is an anxious, insecure and self-critical profession. A new project created by Sarah Hall sets out a manifesto for change.

Organisations are the sum of their relationships and every aspect of the arts, commerce, society and politics is social.

It has always been this way but public relations business practitioners became obsessed with communicating via the proxy of mainstream media and lost sight of the far bigger opportunity.

We obsess about the lack of understanding about the role of public relations, we agonise about the pace of change and we fret about being dragged down by lousy practice.

But public relations practice as a management discipline is putting the public back in organisational communications. It’s a business that is worth almost £10 billion each year to the UK economy according to the PRCA.

Media disintermediation and changes in consumer behaviour brought about by the internet and technology are providing the opportunity for practitioners to assert their value.

Meanwhile we have access to data, tools and media to help plan, deliver and measure the success of our work.

Uplifting vision and purpose for future of public relations

#FuturePRoof is an ambitious project. Its purpose is to explore the opportunity for public relations right now and in the next ten years.

“PR = Public Relations, which means people are at the center of everything. Sarah Hall reveals how the PR world is changing and why the time is now to advance your work in communications,” said Brian Solis, father of PR 2.0 and author of X, The Experience When Business Meets Design.

I’ve worked with Sarah for the last five years at the CIPR, the UK’s professional member body for public relations practitioners.

We live in the same part of the UK and have grown up together along parallel paths in the profession. She cares deeply about improving standards in the profession and raising its status as a management discipline.

Last year Sarah helped me out in my role of President of the CIPR. In addition to board and council meetings we’d catch up in Newcastle every few months to chew over the issues facing the future of public relations.

Lending a hand to help develop the #FuturePRoof community and contributing to the project has been payback in kind.

Lively community

Sarah has brought together a team of more than 30 doers and thinkers to explore some of the big issues that we face in modern practice.

Both organically and by design she has succeeded in bringing together a cross section of the public relations business.

The community has launched a book, available free as a digital download and priced £25.99 in print via Blurb. There’s also a website that you’ll want to check out.

The project is billed as the biggest ever conversation about the future of the public relations business. Its a guide for agency and in-house managers both now and in the future.

#FuturePRoof is already a lively community of academics and practitioners; agency and in-house; junior and senior practitioners; and male and female.

In some cases contributors provide a fresh perspective on an issue as old as the profession itself such as the value of public relations to organisational success, ethics and measurement and evaluation.

Elsewhere they explore emerging areas of practice such as the move towards paid, mapping workflow and freelance business models. I’ve written about the need for a competency framework, something that incredibly we still don’t have in place.

Each chapter is the start point for a discussion to future proof the public relations profession. The contributors have all provided considered, thoughtful and insightful responses to Sarah’s call to action.

Industry endorsements

The project has been endorsed by the CIPR’s Rob Brown, the Holmes Report’s Arun Sudhaman, Ketchum EMEA boss David Gallagher, the PRCA and ICCO chief Francis Ingham and communication visionary Brian Solis.

Whatever your role in the profession there’s something that will prompt you to consider your role in helping to create the future of the business of public relations.

In time I hope Sarah will be able to turn #FuturePRoof into a physical community to meet and tackle these issues. Maybe even in Newcastle.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.

42 Comments

  1. Thanks Wadds, check you writing the word ‘uplifting’ next to the words ‘public relations’ – u ok, hun?

    But seriously, thanks for all your help with the #FuturePRoof project – couldn’t have made it a reality without your support and guidance.

  2. Just wondered if you know if this is going to be listed on the CIPR CPD database – otherwise will try and log as custom submission. Am settling down to read this tonight!

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