Don’t get stuck in the past – be a public relations practitioner of the future

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Future PR, Leadership, PR Training and Development, Public Relations

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Nobody likes to think they’re stuck in the past but I have to say that sometimes, some aspects of our profession seem firmly stuck somewhere around 1980.

For instance, this week the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (UK) – of which I am proud to be a Fellow – announced that it was planning a ‘ban’ on the use of AVEs, or advertising value equivalents.

I have to say I was shocked. Why? Because AVEs were discredited years ago with global condemnation reaching consensus in 2010 through the Barcelona Principles which stated quite clearly that advertising equivalents are not a measure of public relations or communication. A couple of decades ago the CIPR – or IPR as it was then – produced a guide to public relations measurement and evaluation which also discredited the measure. So to discover they’re ‘thinking’ about a ban all the way into this decade was a bit of a hoot. Particularly when there is so much more out there that, as a profession, we need to get to grips with.

Research, measurement and evaluation for public relations is straight forward and easy to execute – if you’re unsure how to do it (without resorting to the nonsense that is AVE) then take our course and you’re all set. But the wider issue is that public relations deals with all types of communication – written, oral, visual and experiential – in completing the work we do, which is building and sustaining the relationships our organisations need to keep their licence to operate.

The illustration with this post is the CPD wheel I developed during my tenure as Secretary of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management. It breaks down the central components of what we do and expands on the knowledge we need to seek – ranging from data management and forecasting to behavioural analysis and community identification, and all points in between. My advice would be don’t get stuck in the past. Understand what it is you do and the wider implications of the profession’s purpose. Then sit down and plan your professional development journey.

That way, you’ll stay ahead and not become a public relations relic of the past.