1. Bruce Fraser, Fraser Consultants, PRINZ Fellow, PRINZ National Coordinator, APR (Accreditation)
The importance of strategy for the PR practitioner
For young PR practitioners, it’s usually enough to be immersed in the ‘doing’ part of the industry. Later in their careers though, particularly if they progress in to managerial roles, they will need to develop a greater understanding of the importance of PR strategy.
Without this understanding, the PR person will remain reactive and not fully engaged in the achievement of the business goals. At best, the PR specialist will bring his or her skills, knowledge and understanding to the executive table to participate fully in decision-making. Their PR perspective will combine with other professional opinions from experts in the financial, marketing, manufacturing, research and development and sales areas to produce more rounded business outcomes.
Without this input into the strategic level, the decisions will still be made and then passed to the PR team for implementation. From there the PR professional will ensure that the best possible job is done but something will be missing.
Understanding the importance of strategy then is vital to the development of all PR people. We all need to be able to see and understand how our body of knowledge and our environmental scanning data can contribute to better business planning.
One client that I worked with recently was sure that a media campaign would help solve their potential reputation crisis. Working with the CEO and a board member on the background and rationale though, revealed that a lower profile, more interpersonal set of communications would be a better strategic approach.
It’s sometimes tempting to run straight for the tactics and base a campaign around them but the best programmes are founded strongly on a clear, strategic approach. In this planning framework the practitioner sets a solid foundation grounded in the underlying reasons for the work and builds from there.
PRINZ is delivering two Continuing Professional Development full day sessions on ‘PR Strategic Planning’ in Auckland and Wellington led by Bruce Fraser.