THIS WEEK’S BIG QUESTION: Does the PR industry need its own livery company?

A senior group of PR people is seeking to form a Guild for Public Relations Practitioners

A senior group of PR people is seeking to form a Guild for Public

Relations Practitioners

John Peterson

The Worshipful Company

of Marketors

’No, it’s not necessary to have a separate PR livery company. The

Worshipful Company of Marketors already exists and covers all the

disciplines involved in bringing goods to market, including market

research, advertising, sales and promotion. We are the voice in the City

representing marketing in all its forms.’

Jessica Mann


’PR people are usually involved in every aspect of an organisation’s

communications, not just those relating to marketing, so creating a

dedicated guild would be a logical move. But it does seem a bit

old-fashioned. Surely as we approach the millennium there are more

contemporary ways of promoting our profession?’

Adrian Wheeler

GCI Group

’Yes. Livery companies are a cross between craft guilds and friendly

societies. PR is a craft and PR people are nothing if not friendly, so

it seems entirely appropriate. A livery company would do much to dignify

an industry that has grown tremendously in stature over the last 20


Although PR is a 20th century term, the practice goes back millennia -

after all, PR is the only reason we know anything about what happened in


John Williams

Fishburn Hedges

’The traditions of livery do fit slightly oddly with the modern image of

PR, and I tend to think that there are already too many bodies

representing PR practitioners. There does appear to be a role for such a

guild, but that role is being filled by the Worshipful Company of

Marketors. It would be more sensible for the PR industry to support

that, rather than to have its own. Another set-up just risks


Nick Band

Band and Brown Communications

’The last thing the industry needs is a guild to enhance its status.

We have enough problems with the Victorian attitudes of the PRCA and IPR

without looking for inspiration from the Dark Ages. I guess the real

problem lies with the fact the young Turks of PR are too busy doing

their jobs to represent the industry, leaving this important role to the

legions of PR has-beens anxious to keep a foot in the door to balance

the foot they have in the grave.’

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