AU MA Social Media

A class blog about social media.

Give PR professionals a seat at leadership’s table

Posted by bn2954 on July 19, 2012

In today’s fast-paced and technologically advanced world, a crisis situation can strike a company and become magnified in an instant. The groundswell gives consumers the power to take information and run with it. This is why to survive in today’s business world, public relations practitioners must be included at the strategic level of a company where decisions are made. They must be given a seat at leadership’s table with the ability to advise and take action when needed.
There are many ideas about what PR professionals do. The negative ones can often filter into where the PR pro ranks in an organization. People may think the PR person is responsible for “spinning” a story, making something go “viral,” or cleaning up poorly written language. They may ask the PR person to simply “make a document look good” or, in times of crisis, “clean up the mess we made that we did not tell you about in advance that could have been prevented.” These perceptions do not only harm the PR professional, but can have direct negative consequences on an organization. If a PR professional is not give a seat at the table – where they can have a strategic view of what is going on – the organization is at risk.
Of course giving the PR professional a strategic view will not prevent bad things from happening. After all, organizations are composed of individual free-thinkers who make mistakes. People can always lack judgement or moral character. Still, if a PR advisor is involved early, they can help navigate a terrible situation toward a better outcome and lower the risk of a diminished reputation.
Think of some of the most recent crisis situations that have made headlines where brand names have been tarnished and face a long road to recovery. In these public relations nightmares it is possible that a PR team had a hand in sweeping a scandal under the rug (although I certainly hope not). Or perhaps somebody in a leadership role did not take the PR person’s advice to break the news early and take corrective action. Can you name any examples where a PR professional was not involved until it was too late?
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