EDITORIAL: IPR opportunity is not to be missed

Corporate communicators are failing to appreciate the opportunities created for them by the forthcoming Operating and Financial Review, or the threat from management consultants and auditors keen to exert their dominance in this profitable area of reputation management.

This was the chilling message delivered last November to delegates at the PRWeek Forum, by Dr John Browne, PricewaterhouseCoopers director of reputation assurance.

Tellingly, among those contributing to the debate, only two delegates were actively involved in writing up their company's OFRs and most were more concerned with delivery rather than content of reputation audits.

In fact, debate around the Company Law Review, which is due to come on to the statute books in 2003, has been muted within the industry despite various attempts to galvanise discussion by the Institute of Public Relations.

The IPR now plans to monitor and create best practice models for reporting of reputation and intangible assets.

Crucially, it is working with performance measurement specialists to ensure corporate communicators are central to the measurement and auditing process itself. President Jon Aarons has written to heads of corporate communications at FTSE 350 companies inviting them to register interest in the programme.

The level of response will reveal a great deal about the readiness of the industry to grasp an opportunity, which far from being a matter of increased government bureacracy, will define the role of communicators in the burgeoning reputation management industry.

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