At last week's IPR conference - Tomorrow's World - much was made of the growing importance of 'soft assets' with buzzwords such as reputation management and corporate social responsibility the focus of several presentations.
The reality of this message is crystal clear at a time when the news agenda is stuffed with examples of companies struggling with the issue of public perception - Railtrack, The Gap and Nike the most recent examples.
However, the speakers were careful not to get carried away in predicting a glowing future for the PR industry. The clear message was that as these soft assets take centre stage within corporate structure they are also moving up the agenda of other business service providers such as lawyers and management consultants.
The PR industry is at an important crossroads. The opportunities to enter the boardroom are there, but the industry needs to move quickly to secure its position as guardian of corporate reputation and to avoid being consigned to an implementation rather than strategic role.