When the PR progressives inherit the earth

I’m just back from attending a great PR Moment event this morning, discussing PR as a lead generation  tool. Lots of great speakers, lots of great case studies, lots of nodding heads from the room of PR practitioners. Loud applause from everyone, including me. I have a rule about events like this – I just need to take one thing away to make it totally worthwhile. Today this thing was…being a professional communicator is pointless if we give up trying to push ourselves to try new things. The speakers putting themselves forward to speak this morning – Paul Wooding of Western Digital, Wendy Watherston of Grant Thornton and Parker Ward of Cap Gemini – were definitely all pushing themselves.  They are all championing new approaches to public relations, which puts it front and centre as a change agent within their organisations. They are innovating – one campaign at a time, one hire at a time, one experiment at a time – with the goal of making a greater clear commercial contribution to their companies with the work they do. That is to be celebrated because this attitude and sentiment is all too rare in my everyday experience of being agency-side and seeing and meeting many different types of people and organisations. Company culture, leadership, organisational silos, budgets, time, inertia (the list goes on) are all held up as excuses for not giving things a go. And I must confess, I’ve used a few of these myself in the past. But today we heard that they shouldn’t be. The speakers all freely admitted the many challenges they faced daily, but they didn’t let them get in the way of the overall goal. It might be working with a new CEO to drive new social behaviours internally, reorganising internal teams to become a better content machine, or volunteering stretch KPIs around sales and revenue from their campaigns to prove a point. Lots of approaches, none of them easy or without risk. So the people driving these initiatives forward, and other progressives like them, deserve recognition. They might be making their lives more difficult than they need to (and they may even fail sometimes!) but by trying to do things differently they will be: a) better practitioners, marketers and communicators and b) the leaders in their field in the future. And they will be doing a lot of public speaking gigs. For more insight on staying ahead of the curve in public relations, download Futureproofing The PR Department Download Futureproofing The PR Department