The PR industry needs a leader

The public relations industry needs a leader.  The PRSA has recently been talking about what it takes to be an industry leader. Because I was not be able to participate I thought I would write a short piece on what I think it takes to be a leader in the public relations industry.

There are many who claim to be leaders in my industry; the majority are self-proclaimed or appointed. The PR industry has lacked a credible leader for many years – probably as many as I have been working in it. That’s too long.

Leadership in the PR industry involves three core elements:

  • Leadership is about continual improvement
  • Leadership is about setting the benchmark for excellence and helping others to achieve it
  • Leadership is about providing a vision for the future of the industry that benefits both those working in it and our customers.
  • Leadership is also about doing something to move the industry forward
  • Leadership requires a fundamental understanding of what public relations is. You can’t hope to lead if you don’t have a grasp of what the fundamental discipline is or how you measure its impact for customers.
  • Too many of the supposed leaders of the PR industry are big on vision but short on real actions. They make proclamations like, ‘the future of PR is content marketing’ and ‘PR should own the marketing function’. Some claim the value of PR has never been clearer – yet fail to explain simply, and clearly, exactly what it is.

Too many of the supposed leaders of the PR industry are chasing the next cash cow, rather than focusing on how to improve what we, as an industry, do. They are focused on increasing fees, rather than delivering value. They are focused on being seen to be a leader, rather than on leading.

There are many pretenders but very few credible candidates.

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