Finding the value in PR and communications

I listened to an interesting discussion by senior communications directors at this year’s European
Circle of Communicators held in Rome –

In advance of the event participants had taken part in extensive research about trends in
communications, discussed whether PR was ‘dead’ and debated how effective we are as an industry
at supporting the needs of our organisations and clients.

The discussion in Rome displayed some of the usual hallmarks of the insecurity, which often
pervades our business as we pondered the question: ‘Can we demonstrate the value that we bring
through communications and PR, and demonstrate a proper return on investment?’

My view is that of course we can.

Firstly, all of the evidence shows that the intangible asset base of organisations is becoming ever
more valuable and is being relied upon more and more heavily by investors to decide which
organisations to invest into and which to avoid. If organisations do not spend money and resources
in building trust with their key stakeholders, and in improving their reputations and the value of
their brands, then their intangible asset base will be less valuable. As a result they will lose out on
shareholder funds.

Secondly, the tenure of a typical CEO is becoming shorter and shorter. They need to protect and
build their own reputations to be successful and senior communicators are essential in helping
them. Oh, and by the way, part of the CEO’s job is to act as The Communicator in Chief of the
organisation. So on both counts the CEO will ignore investment in communications at his or her

So senior communicators have the evidence. We sometimes just need to have the confidence to
fight our corner harder with the organisations and clients with whom we work.

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