A few roles for PR that I like

A few roles for PR that I like

Public Relations | Judette Coward-Puglisi

September 8, 2009


Today I am soaking in Richard Edelman’s  definitions about the role and function of PR both from the agency and corporate perspective. 

I liked  both statements because they reflect  the shift in thinking that has taken place since the formation of social communities have made top / down engagement virtually irrelevant and /or extinct. 

From an agency side Edelman states that: "PR should stand for  a transparent effort to advocate a client’s position, supported by depth of content, while offering an open place for dialogue and comment. 

Agencies should  aim is to educate when possible, build bridges when necessary, and respect the new market-based conversations always. They should also start at the end point–to dream about where they  would like their  client to be—and then create a dialogue-based communications program to get them there."

On the corporate side, Edelman writes that the pyramid of influence, the classic C. Wright Mills description of the power elite where information moves one way from pinnacle to the mass audience below, has been eclipsed.

The new reality for communications is the sphere of cross reference, in which information moves unpredictably among equal stakeholders. Conversations now occur spontaneously, in peer-to-peer discussion, with individuals creating their own webs of trust including people like themselves.

"Corporate communicators must  facilitate and contribute to the discussion in both the controlled vertical axis reaching traditional audiences such as investors, regulators and mainstream media, and on the horizontal axis to inform employees, passionate consumers, NGOs and communities."