'Some, I suspect, are just waiting to be asked. Others are put off by the fairly complicated application form, or by the cost. Others may just need more encouragement from their employers.
'However, I believe the main reason that most PROs do not join the CIPR is that they do not think it has sufficient relevance. If they are based in the regions they may have never set foot in the Old Trading House. The new HQ will be much more accessible to all members, and will provide them with the benefit of a central London base. And I will spend my year as president touring the UK – meeting members and potential recruits.
'Freelance PROs or those who work for a small agency may think the CIPR is too academic and spends too much time on esoteric issues. They may well be right. If the CIPR concentrated on practical issues such as the NLA and colour separation charges rather than issues such as diversity, its relevance rating might shoot up.
'Finally, of course, there is competition from a host of related bodies – such as the PRCA and CIOM – and PROs may just be suffering from membership fatigue. My aim will be to make the CIPR the must-join organisation for anybody working in the communications industry.'
Lionel Zetter is MD of sister firms Parliamentary Monitoring Services and Political Wizard. He gained 347 votes to rival election candidate Kevin Taylor's 255.