For many years, we thought the challenge to the PR profession was how to add value for clients or organizations. We’ve all worked very hard to do that as leaders.
What struck me recently in conversation with a few thoughtful PR pros was that we should be concentrating on adding values too.
No question adding value impacts the bottom line. It’s an important part of strategic public relations in any organization but it’s not the whole piece of the puzzle.
Public relations is often criticized for being “soft skills” or unmeasurable compared with production, marketing or sales. We’ve demonstrated that is not the case in recent years thanks to new PR measurement tools. With the rise of social media, and new disciplines such as content marketing, we face more of these measurement challenges.
I went looking for some reading on the topic of PR values and found Paul Holmes’ superb post Public Relations Values Perfect Fit For Social Media Age. Holmes writes:
“Today, the brand is no longer determined by what the company says about itself; it’s determined by all the things that are said about the company by others, in the real world (over garden fences, in hair salons, the supermarket check-out line, over drinks and dinners) and in digital and social media.”
It’s a thought-provoking read for every PR and social media professional.
A recent study by Caroline Flammer showed there is an ROI for companies with a focus on values such corporate social responsibility (CSR):
“…The data showed that shareholders do in fact reward corporations for environmentally responsible activity. Companies experienced an average abnormal stock price increase of .84% in the two days following an announcement of eco-friendly behavior. Likewise, investors significantly punished companies for eco-harmful events with a corresponding abnormal return of -.65%….
… Shareholders are paying attention, and such policies can make a big difference to the bottom line, single or triple.”
That should be enough to convince us that if we can add value and values in our work, then we have truly reached the pinnacle of our profession.
What are some of the ways PR can add values? Here are just three to consider:
- Acting to help your organization define its values and building an active PR program to communicate those values.
- Building an employee recognition program that recognizes, reinforces and rewards employees for exhibiting the company’s values in their everyday work.
- Creating an online community based on your organization’s values. For example, a mining company’s commitment to environmental stewardship or a forest company planting more trees than it cuts. Ensure this online community is supported and valued both as a listening post and a two-way communications channel.
If you look at that grove of old growth trees do you see value or values? That may define the true PR professional. When it comes to reputation management, strategic communication and adding values, there’s no one better positioned to get the job done than PR professionals. It’s definitely something to think about.
So will that be value or values with your PR? Just wondering.
We’ve got many more articles and resources on strategic public relations and reputation management in our PR Library. Don’t forget to sign up for the PR Coach blog or get regular posts through your favorite RSS reader.
More Public Relations Values Reading
I’ve gathered a few more articles I recently enjoyed to help stimulate your thinking on PR values:
Behind Every Responsible Company . . . Is a PR Agency? [Forbes]
Bringing Transparency to CSR Reports [Corporate Eye]
Corporate Social Responsibility Shifts from the Cubicle to the Boardroom [Forbes]
Corporate Responsibility Magazine Names Best Corporate Citizens [Media Bistro]
CSR Pays for Itself: Here’s the Evidence [Forbes]
Eni : A Leader in CSR Websites [Corporate Eye]
HOW TO: Decide Which Charities Your Business Should Support [Mashable]
PR Is What PR Does – A Question of Ethics [PR Conversations]
Public Relations Values Perfect Fit For Social Media Age [Paul Holmes]
Reputation Stumble Rate Still High [Reputation Exchange]
Six Tips for Integrating Social Media with a Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign [BulletproofBlog]
The Ants and Elephants of Corporate Social Responsibility [Media Miser]
The (Wrong) Image of the PR Industry [Gini Dietrich]
Three Tips for Communicating CSR on Your Website [Corporate Eye]
Photo Credit: Justin Kern via Flickr
Author: Jeff Domansky is Editor, The PR Coach
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