New comms pros would be wise to heed Hall of Famers' values

The Hall of Fame dinner in December embodied respect, celebration, and good memories of truly groundbreaking individuals who blazed a trail in defining the principles that form the bedrock of modern communications.

In 2013, PRWeek turned 15 and celebrated the formation of the PRWeek Hall of Fame, inducting luminaries including Harold Burson, Al Golin, and Marilyn Laurie as our inaugural honorees. The Hall of Fame dinner in December embodied respect, celebration, and good memories of truly groundbreaking individuals who blazed a trail in defining the principles and practice that form the bedrock of modern communications.

What became obvious during the evening is that some universal maxims and values will always be relevant to the modern PR pro. But, as we embark on another year of lightning-quick evolution, it is also clear that times have changed irrevocably – and our industry is at a critical crossroads.

Companies and organizations are crunching their marketing and communications functions together, in some cases shedding the chief communications officer role. Unilever recently became the latest CPG giant to slash its marketing headcount and budgets, following last year's example of big rival Procter & Gamble.

As we have reflected during the last 18 months, content is the driver of much modern communication and the respective importance of the paid, earned, shared, and owned elements of the media mix have fundamentally shifted. And the big guns of the PR agency world are all redefining themselves to better serve their clients in this new world order.

While this may seem frightening on the surface, it actually represents a big opportunity for smart PR pros and progressive organizations. As long as corporate reputation is not forgotten in this new mix and the individuals responsible for communications and marketing take heed of our Hall of Famers' universal values on top of their enthusiasm for social media, cheaper marketing, and leaner structures.

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