I've never been a big fan of PRSA, the Public Relations Society of America. My take -- the organization has been top-heavy with p.r. politicians, more interested in self-promotion and power trips than in really helping advance the profession. The long-time focus on their APR accreditation has not, in my opinion, done much to elevate standards or respect for what we do.
For too long, PRSA has kept its inner workings hidden, doing a terrible job of p.r. for itself and for the industry. Practically any issue of Jack O'Dwyer's PR Newsletter will give you details on what's wrong with PRSA, from its politics and wild spending to its anti-New York bias.
But FINALLY, it seems like PRSA is doing something right. This week they announced an advocacy campaign intended "to foster more accurate and better-informed perceptions surrounding the value and roles of public relations," according to the official PRSA website. Under the theme "The Business Case for Public Relations," the program's stated goal 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
PRSA has compiled information, articles and case histories into three categories to help make the case for PR:
"Convincing the CEO"
"Communicating the Value of Public Relations"
"Public Relations' Advantages vs. Other Marketing and Communications Vehicles."
It looks like a promising start. Hopefully, PRSA will put the appropriate resources behind the effort to make it effective. It will help if they reach out to the entire p.r. industry to support it, rather than the giant agencies that seem to have dominated PRSA for years.
So... kudos to PRSA for taking these important first steps. Let's hope they, supported by the rest of us in public relations, can do a good job communicating how and why our business is so much more than publicity and press clippings.