Public relations agencies in the US have moved a step closer
towards forming the country’s first consultancy association.
At a conference held in Florida earlier this month by the Public
Relations Society of America Counsellors Academy - which represents
individual professionals working in agencies rather than in-house - a
draft mission statement was drawn up by a core group of campaigners and
plans were laid for an official launch at the beginning of 1998.
Provisionally called the American Association of Public Relations Firms
(AAPRF), the new organisation is being partly modelled on the UK’s PRCA
and will represent large and medium sized companies. It will not seek to
replace the PRSA or the Counsellors Academy.
Those leading the effort, including Ketchum chairman David Drobis, GCI
managing director Valerie di Maria and Morgan and Myers executive
vice-president Gary Myers have called on potential members to raise
around dollars 200,000 (pounds 125,000) to hire consultants to help draw
up a business plan and to create marketing material.
So far major players, such as Porter Novelli and Manning Selvage and
Lee, plus smaller agencies such as Evans Group and The Softness Group
have shown commitment to the association.
The nascent AAPRF is likely to take responsibility for establishing
industry standards and lobbying on behalf of PR companies rather than
education and training for individual members. The latter two functions
have traditionally been exercised by the PRSA.
Once launched, the AAPRF will join ICO, the international PR
Based at the PRCA’s headquarters in London, ICO already represents 17
national European PR associations and has actively encouraged the
formation of a US trade body.