SOURCE: Public Relations Society of America

Public Relations Society of America

October 28, 2009 13:43 ET

PRSA Makes a "Case" for Public Relations

"The Business Case for Public Relations™," an Industry Advocacy Campaign, Aims to Inform Perceptions of Public Relations' Roles and Value

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - October 28, 2009) - The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has launched an advocacy campaign for the public relations industry, which is intended to foster more accurate and better-informed perceptions surrounding the value and roles of public relations.

The goal of "The Business Case for Public Relations™" is to drive industry recognition and growth by helping professionals in the field educate key stakeholders about public relations' functions and outcomes, demonstrate its strategic value and enhance its reputation. The program's framework was created with the help of public relations industry leaders, including representatives of APCO Worldwide, Boston University College of Communication, Cooper-Katz, Edelman, GolinHarris, Hill & Knowlton, Ketchum, MWW Group and Wachovia.

"Public relations is more important than ever before, given the explosion of consumer engagement through new and social media, the collapse of reputation and trust in major institutions and the evolving needs and concerns of corporate CEOs," said Michael G. Cherenson, APR, PRSA 2009 chair and CEO. "Yet, our industry continues to suffer criticism at the hands of individuals who do not understand the practice and application of public relations, or who perpetuate common misperceptions, such as maintaining that public relations is not measurable, or that publicity is the full extent of what public relations professionals do."

A wide array of PRSA resources is available under "The Business Case for Public Relations™" banner. The resources include suggested message points to help change entrenched attitudes and perceptions of public relations, and articles on communicating with clients or senior management about the value and benefits of public relations, organized into three categories: "Convincing the CEO," "Communicating the Value of Public Relations" and "Public Relations' Advantages vs. Other Marketing and Communications Vehicles."

Also included is a database of measurement resources, categorized by industry and practice area, that offers practical guidance for demonstrating the value of communications programs. Plus, PRSA is enhancing its Professional Development opportunities and aligning them with topics and resources correlated to The Business Case. The first of these opportunities will be offered at the PRSA 2009 International Conference in San Diego in November.

Additionally, PRSA has recategorized its database of Silver Anvil Award case histories by industry and business outcome, so that users can find profiles of best-in-class public relations programs that have achieved measurable results similar to those that their clients or organizations may be pursuing. Initially, the database will include four types of business outcomes: Financial, Corporate Reputation/Brand Equity, People and Public Policy.

Finally, PRSA is providing a list of ways that public relations professionals can utilize Business Case tools and resources -- from measuring the attitudinal and behavioral impact of their public relations programs to creating a better understanding and appreciation for what they do as a profession to capturing a greater share of their clients' or organizations' investments in marketing and communications services.

"For the Business Case to be successful, public relations professionals must buy into the campaign and serve as catalysts for reshaping internal and external perceptions of our profession," said Cherenson. "The role of PRSA is to empower these professionals with broad-based knowledge and supporting data."

One of the first major initiatives that will be published under The Business Case is a series of formal recommendations to help practitioners document the relationship between public relations activities and business results. They will include suggested metrics and approaches for evaluating public relations' influence on four main business outcomes: Financial, Reputation/Brand Equity, Employees and other Internal Publics and Public Policy. A draft of these recommendations already has been circulated for industry comment.

Over time, The Business Case initiative will come to include research, practical tools, influencer and media outreach and targeted career development opportunities. It also will celebrate the positive influence our industry has had in the service of the public good -- for example, public relations has changed attitudes and behaviors toward some of the world's most pressing social issues; prevented consumer injury and illness; and raised awareness of products that have improved our quality of life.

About the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)

The Public Relations Society of America (www.prsa.org), headquartered in New York City, is the world's largest organization for public relations professionals with nearly 32,000 professional and student members. PRSA is organized into 110 Chapters and 10 Districts nationwide, and 20 Professional Interest Sections and Affinity Groups, which represent business and industry, counseling firms, independent practitioners, military, government, associations, hospitals, schools, professional services firms and nonprofit organizations. The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) has 300 Chapters at colleges and universities throughout the United States, and one Chapter in Argentina.

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