Platinum: Celebrating the CIPR at 70
Platinum is the precious metal that recognises a 70th anniversary. It’s also the name of a very special CIPR community project that celebrates its foundation in 1948.
Platinum has been published today by the CIPR. It’s my eighth book. I say my book but it’s not really my book at all nor is it the CIPR’s.
The project is the product of listening and engaging with CIPR members. It’s their book. My role is a walk on part as the editor and project manager. The CIPR has funded the design and publication.
Co-creating a story of the CIPR
In The Social Leadership Handbook, Julian Stodd describes three levels of narrative: personal stories; co-created stories; and organisational stories. Stodd is one of the world’s leading thinkers on the impact of social technologies on organisations. I highly recommend his work.
Platinum fits neatly into the second of Stodd’s three levels of narrative. It’s a co-created story of the CIPR and PR practice, as recorded by CIPR members. It reflects what the community considers to be important.
The project has been 18 months in creation. It started last year as an open call for contributions to celebrate the CIPR’s 70th anniversary. More than 80 members submitted almost 100 pitches, and 45 were selected.
In this sense the community was subject to a hefty dose of oversight and management. This was a necessary intervention as one of the end goals was a book that CIPR members and the wider PR industry would be prepared to buy.
Stodd suggests that co-created and community-moderated narratives are only valid in the moment. It’s not a definitive story that will last forever he says, but rather today’s version of an evolving story.
Indeed this is the fourth time that the CIPR has crowdsourced its story from members. It follows similar projects in 1973, 1988 and 1998, to celebrate the organisation’s 25th, 40th and 50th anniversaries.
Seeking out voices from the CIPR community
In addition to crowdsourced contributions I sought out a number of individuals. Unusually, the project has three forewords but each is important.
The CIPR has worked hard this year to engage with business and promote the relevance of PR as a management discipline. The CBI’s Director General, Carolyn Fairbairn writes about this issue and the opportunity for practitioners to help drive the UK’s place in the world post-Brexit though skills, innovation, infrastructure and competitiveness.
CIPR President Sarah Hall has been a driver and supporter of Platinum from the outset. She’s also my partner. This project has truly been a labour of love.
Platinum has a similar genesis to Sarah’s work for the #FuturePRoof community. She writes about the drive to professionalism in PR, and how young people hold the key to bringing about change thanks to their commitment to qualifications and professional development. You can read her contribution on her blog.
Tim Travers-Healy, a CIPR founder and Past President, is an important voice. He writes about the purpose and values of the then IPR when it was founded in 1948. His words will resonate with anyone working in modern practice. It’s uncanny.
The 45 chapters by members cover five areas of PR.
Performance - The impact of practising PR as a management discipline on modern organisations
Perspective - Reflections on the CIPR’s history and its communities
Potential - Exploring the future of the profession such as automation, artificial intelligence, and tools
Practice - A discussion of modern areas of PR practice
Provocation - Exploring issues related to the future of the profession
Thank you to the CIPR community
You can download a list of contributions and descriptions from the CIPR website. It’s impossible to pick out favourites. The drive to professional in PR is a consistent theme. The standard of contributions is exceptional.
Ten CIPR Past Presidents have reviewed the project, and members of the CIPR Board and Council have jumped in on Amazon.
My thanks to everyone that has contributed to Platinum. I reckon that the project represents around 1,000 hours of volunteer time, and maybe more. That in itself is amazing and for me defines this incredible legacy project as the CIPR looks forward to its next 70 years.
Profits from Platinum will be donated to iprovision, the CIPR's benevolent fund for PR practitioners who've fallen on hard times. You can buy the book in print for £29.39 and via Amazon Kindle for £4.95.