I guess the first clue is found in the original descriptor of the discipline: public relations – the ability to relate effectively to one’s audiences.
But we should also remember that the comms industry is indeed that: a business in itself. And unlike advertising, direct marketing or website creation, the core product that you and your team offer is advice (deriving from strategic thinking, creativity, experience). In other words, your offer is only as good as you are personally, and the people whom you employ directly.
READ MORE: click here for the full Power Book list
In the past two issues, we have looked hard at industry ethics and the sort of campaigns that define the future of the profession.
And so for this (December/January) issue of PRWeek we focus heavily on the industry’s people themselves. The 2015 Power Book, which I launched in 2007, is well-established as the definitive guide to the very top echelons of this continually growing and maturing business. We have been very strict in selection criteria with only very senior consultants and (an increasing number of) in-house comms chiefs invited to enter. Hopefully this is something to aspire to and celebrate. The aim is to not only identify the most influential operators in the UK, but to gain some insight into their careers and attitudes.
For this turn-of-the-year edition we also try to gauge absolutely the most powerful professionals in their niches, and in the overall picture. The choice of the most influential person on PR today – whom none of you would have predicted – defines the way we see the industry developing; and this can be summed up in three words: digital, convergence, authenticity. The fact that he doesn’t come from a PR background just highlights the convergence that is taking place between business disciplines – marketing, comms, media, technology and leadership itself.
This year has been hugely encouraging for the comms business. The economy has picked up, more comms chiefs are reporting to CEOs, and more comms agencies are reporting to big budget CMOs. This brings its own challenges however, with new arenas in which to fight; rising wage bills; and new skills sets to develop.
With the people featured herewith however, these are nice problems to have. And going into a bright new year they can be embraced with confidence.