There is a lot of talk about the threat to PR as disciplines merge.

Some argue that with the evolution of comms, PR and marketing are now one and the same.  Many continue to assert that PR is a subset of marketing.

In truth, PR holds much greater value as a strategic management tool and is far from a dying art.

PR’s unique gift is its ability to build mutually beneficial relationships with an organisation’s stakeholders to help it achieve its goals. No other comms discipline has such influence or can complement and even correct other marketing techniques in the way PR can.

Take the recent Volkswagen scandal in which the company knowingly marketed vehicles emitting illegal levels of emissions. It’s now down to the PR team to communicate how Volkswagen plans to fix affected vehicles and improve compliance, not to mention rebuild trust among consumers.

The future is bright

In 1999, Dr Jon White presented a paper to the Swiss Public Relations Society that stated that the future was bright for PR practitioners.

This was dependent on practitioners recognising ‘the opportunities presented by the environment and management needs’ and taking ‘steps to educate and train themselves’, as well as making ‘full use of communication technology, to provide reliable, if not indispensable, services to managers as they seek to deal with complexity and manage successful businesses.’

Very little has changed. But perhaps we need reminding of it.

This is where a project I have been leading called #FuturePRoof comes in.

PR as a management discipline

#FuturePRoof is a community with the bold ambition of asserting PR’s role as a management discipline.

It launched at the start of November with a book in which 35 leading PR professionals look frankly at the industry today to discuss the inherent value of public relations, the opportunities and challenges faced and raise awareness of the role it plays in driving business success.

A practical guide to some of the key issues facing the managers of comm’s teams, the book is designed to drive up standards and professionalism, engender innovative thinking and to encourage PR practitioners to create disruption, not just embrace it.

As Arun Sudhaman, Partner / Editor-in-Chief of The Holmes Report says: “A diverse range of voices that provide illuminating insight into the dramatic evolution of public relations, #FuturePRoof’s contributors offer timely observations and compelling lessons from an industry that is changing fast.”

Rob Brown, CIPR President-Elect and managing director of Rule-5 describes #FuturePRoof as “an ambitious project to codify the vast changes that have had an impact on the practice of 21st century public relations. It delivers guidance and advice that is valuable, relevant and immediate.”

#FuturePRoof teams with best practice advice and guidance thanks to the wealth of talent featured within it. It provides context on the world in which PR practitioners operate today.

It offers practical solutions to daily challenges while scanning the horizon and looking at how to identify and navigate ‘what’s next’. I’d very much encourage anyone working within the industry to read it.

Nearly 1300 free copies of #FuturePRoof have been downloaded from the www.futureproofingcomms.co.uk website since its launch at the start of November. Hard copies are also available from Blurb at a cost of £25.99.

We continue to look for people to become part of the community so anyone wanting to join the conversation can do so by following the Twitter feed @WeArePRoofed.