The next big client PR must counsel is itself

The PR industry has long been shrouded by mystery and misperception.

The PR industry has long been shrouded by mystery and misperception.

Even our parents don't truly comprehend what a typical day for a PR pro entails. And forget about explaining it to the rest of our friends and family. Quite honestly, PR has traditionally been the most inept at telling its own story.

The Council of Public Relations Firms' mission is to show the value of PR as a strategic business tool. What better way to do so than by employing PR itself, and the Council's marketing committee, which directs its comprehensive PR program, is a great place to start.

Corporate trust, homeland security, employee morale, and the future of PR are among the many issues currently being tackled by the marketing committee.

- Corporate Trust. According to the Golin/Harris International Trust Survey, the "recent economic events and wave of scandals ... have accelerated and underscored this erosion of trust. The Council recognizes the valuable role PR firms can play in restoring trust in corporate America. To tell that story, the Council has developed a white paper on trust and PR's role that will be distributed to Council members and their clients. It will also be pitched to the media to generate widespread distribution of the document and encourage business leaders to seek PR guidance.

- Homeland Security. During World War II, the communications industry stepped up to the plate, providing both the government and American business with invaluable counsel and assistance. In this new and perilous age, ushered in by the 9/11 attacks, the PR industry can make meaningful contributions to homeland security and the war against terrorism. The Council believes that the industry can play an important advisory role in helping the government communicate more fully and effectively, as it develops and implements programs to alert and prepare an anxious nation for what may lie ahead.

The marketing committee is currently exploring a number of proposals.

- Employee Morale. The Council has partnered with the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) for its annual Labor Day Survey of Employees.

The omnibus survey, conducted by Roper ASW, will determine the level of trust and confidence employees have in their companies. The survey will also be distributed to HR managers (SHRM members) to gather their insights into the current state of corporate employee morale and satisfaction.

Results will be distributed nationally on August 26th.

In addition to the survey, the Council and SHRM will join forces on various other initiatives, including writing co-bylined articles, sponsoring leadership roundtables to discuss key employee communications and management issues, and speaking at annual conferences and meetings.

- The Future of PR. In addition to the issues currently being monitored, the marketing committee helps the Council direct its general PR efforts.

It guides the Council as it announces results of relevant studies, including the annual Industry Documentation and Rankings, its Economic Annual Report, and upcoming Council events. The Committee monitors the business media daily and guides the Council's response to breaking business news that may impact the PR industry.

Steve Cody, managing partner of PepperCom, is the 2001-2002 chairman of the Council of Public Relations Firms' marketing committee. The Council of Public Relations Firms is the trade association representing more than 125 of America's leading PR firms. The Council's mission is to demonstrate PR's value as a strategic business tool to non-communications business executives, the business media, and the academic community. For more about the marketing committee, or to find out how your firm can join the Council of Public Relations Firms, call toll-free 1-877-PRFIRMS (877-773-4767) or visit www.prfirms.org.

- This column is contributed and paid for by The Council of PR Firms.

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