It has been my pleasure to be director-general of the PRCA for nine years, and in that time I’ve seen both the industry and the organisation change immeasurably. For both of those reasons, we are now asking PR practitioners: should we change our name?
There are two related drivers behind this consultation. First, the PRCA – the Public Relations Consultants Association – is no longer limited to ‘consultants’, as it was when we were established in 1969: we welcomed in-house teams in 2009, and individuals in 2011. And, second, as the dividing lines between practice have blurred over the years, many within our industry no longer term themselves as offering just PR.
An analysis of the PRWeek Top 150 PR Consultancies table reveals that fewer than a fifth of agencies now have the word ‘PR’ in their name, for example. Comparable data on in-house teams is not available but, speaking with members, relatively few term themselves as ‘PR teams’.
Those changed terms reflect changed practices – and perhaps the PRCA’s name should reflect those changes if we wish to remain contemporary and relevant?
We recognise, though, that there are arguments against this bold move. The PRCA brand is strong already (just ask the Newspaper Licensing Agency). Why lose brand equity by changing? Even if the name isn’t completely reflective of the industry and the PRCA’s membership, it is not holding the PRCA back – we are the largest professional body for PR practitioners in the UK already. It’s a tough call.
We have already had a few potential names suggested by members of the PRCA’s PR Council. How about the PRofessional Communicators’ Association? The Public Relations and Communications Association? PRUK, or UKPR? Communications UK? Or even the UK Communications Association or UK Communications Institution?
Maybe you have a better idea. Or do you think we should stick with what we’ve got? Whatever you think, we want your voice to be heard.
So we’re opening a consultation with PRCA members and non-PRCA members. It closes at 5pm on 17 June. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject heading ‘PRCA Name Consultation’, answering these questions:
1. Should the PRCA change its name?
2. If so, what should its new name be?
3. Am I a member or non-member?
You are, of course, encouraged to provide reasons for your responses or offer any other comments that you might wish.
At the conclusion of this process, aggregated responses will be made available publicly. A final decision will be made by the PRCA board at its summer meeting and an announcement will follow immediately afterwards. We would emphasise that the board has an entirely open mind. It is perfectly possible that, having weighed the balance of responses, there will be no change – the decision lies with the industry. So please, have your say.
Francis Ingham is PRCA director-general and ICCO executive director