Our Offer
Client List
Client Case Notes
Best Practice Forum


Bill Gates is reported as saying he would spend his last dollar on it, but how well do board members understand and appreciate the benefits that PR can bring to an organisation, its image and reputation?

At the fourth Best Practice Forum we carried out research amongst senior communications professionals from the public and private sectors to gauge the amount of influence that PR has at senior level and the level of understanding of the board when it comes to tactical and strategic PR and its impact on organisation success.

Doing well, but could do better.  That’s the view expressed by senior communications professionals; 

“There is always the pressure-come-desire to see more media coverage/better PR-led relationships. Our role in this is valued but not necessarily understood”, claimed one director of communications.

The comments from guests of the event reveal an interesting perception of the board’s level of understanding of communications by PR professionals…

‘Their focus can be short-term and tactical’

‘The board does value public relations, but does not particularly understand it’

‘They almost never discuss public relations issues’

‘Frequently they believe that PR really works like the BBC’s Absolute Power’

Of course, one of the primary ways of improving the understanding of PR at board level is providing measurement of media coverage through evaluation.  But this is not always possible. “budget constraints make it impossible for us to report to the Board on the meaningfulness of the media coverage we work so desperately hard to secure” was the opinion echoed by many of those present.

Budget is not necessarily the only issue.  IT was felt that boardroom members often have “unrealistic expectations” of public relations, for example in “PR's ability to simply deliver media coverage and of PR to be able to operate without the high-level buy-in that effective PR requires”.

However, it is not all doom and gloom for the industry, as there are some positive views to be found...

‘A good reputation arrives on foot, but leaves on horseback!…the value… of public relations is well understood’

‘There is a good understanding…of what we can achieve collectively’

So how does the PR industry go about improving the situation?  Would it be reckless to assume that where there is a lack of understanding of PR, there is a lack of representation at board level?  Not necessarily.  Accountability and performance measurement is as fundamental to PR as it is to any other business discipline.  Being able to demonstrate this in an understandable way is the first step forward.

Copyright (c) 2006 Mantra International.
All rights reserved.

About Us Services Clients News Contact