By: Jasper Cicero
The Public Relations Society of America presents its professional values as advocacy, honesty, independence, loyalty, fairness and expertise. These six core beliefs are universal in defining the profession of public relations. Our organization, Elevate Communications, is representing local nonprofit Capital Area Special Olympics of Louisiana (CASOL).
As PR professionals, we give our clients a voice to advocate their organization’s beliefs to the public. This voice is honest in that we hold ourselves to a high standard of accuracy when disseminating information to the public. We are not experts in our field and therefore must use strategies learned from public relations professionals to aid our clients. Maintaining independence from an organization is tough because it is easy to become too wrapped up in the organization’s demands. We can not change the fact that members of our organization are disabled. Instead, we can advocate their cause and bring awareness to their group.
The traditional values of public relations are core beliefs of the PR professional. Unlike these traditional values, the competencies employed by modern PR professionals have evolved.
Traditional competencies, such as strategic planning and writing, are still fundamentally important to the practice of public relations. However, in today’s digital landscape there are additional competencies required for a public relations professional to be effective. There is a constant change in communication channels and audiences are quick to change their preferred channels. TrendKite, a consulting agency that aids PR agencies analytical research, named five competencies that are vital to success in today’s world: storytelling, collaboration, business acumen, flexibility and technology fluency.
Storytelling is an important competency for modern PR professionals. They must be able to tell a story quickly and from a point of view that is interesting to the target audience. It is not about the story itself but about the way a story can take an audience through a journey while reinforcing a common theme. If Elevate Communications encounters crisis management with our organization, it will be vital for us to quickly and accurately respond while being able to tell a compelling story about what happened. Stafford Wood, co-founder and principal of Covalent Logic, spoke to us about crisis communication and the importance of defining the story in the first moments of the event. Stafford taught us that in the very beginning of a crisis, the terminology used to describe the story is determined by the first report or release about a topic.
For our organization to meet our client’s needs, we must be able to collaborate effectively. Collaboration is another modern competency that PR professionals must possess. It is crucial for an organization’s communication efforts to be consistent across all platforms. At Elevate, our five team members collaborate on every assignment while maintaining a unified voice for the organizations we represent.
Even though our organization is not being paid for the work this semester, we need to show our client that our communication efforts justify the cost to the business. We must be able to show the worth that public relations has to our client by producing measurable results. Having a good business acumen is important to the modern PR professional. In order to succeed, we realize that our team must be able to prove the worth of effective public relations.
PR professionals must be flexible and able to adapt quickly to change. To stay on the cutting-edge, PR professionals must be able to understand new channels of communication and readjust their strategies to best fit the audience. New social media platforms appear frequently, and it is important for modern PR professionals to capitalize on the constantly changing media landscape. If a new platform seems fit for our organization, it is our job to immediately research this platform and bring this idea to the client for possible use.
Finally, modern PR professionals must be able to understand technology. For this campaigns project, our group maintains a google drive where we collaborate on all of our assignments throughout the week. It is extremely important for modern PR professionals to stay organized digitally, and it is not an easy task. Our Google Drive is able to hold our logos, presentations, style guides, agendas, performance summaries and drafts among other documents important to our organization. Our organization communicates effectively using the messaging platform GroupMe. GroupMe can be accessed from any internet browser and is primarily used on smartphones. We understand the necessity of utilizing these technologies to aid the productivity of our organization.
Allison, M. (2015, February 15). 5 Competencies Today’s Professionals Must Possess. Retrieved September 30, 2015. http://www.trendkite.com/blog/5-competencies-todays-professionals-must-possess
Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Member Code of Ethics. (n.d.). Retrieved September 30, 2015.