Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Value of Public Relations – Today's example


The significance of public relations in the creation, sustenance and management of wealth seems to be esoteric to many practitioners and not what they do. My assertion is that this is exactly what they do.

Perhaps we need to ponder the value of an icon (in the language of academia, a token) and see how values can change. I offer you George W Bush.

How valuable was GWB to Americans six months ago compared with today?

Can you see? GWB public relations has not added to his value or sustained his value and has not been well managed. This is not just about his reputation, that is the fall out from poor public relations management. Good PR management would have changed the way he handled this crisis because it was going to change his value (including the value of his reputation).

Now let us look at another icon. Lets try New Orleans. Events have robbed this great City of much of its value.

Lets quickly move on. Is there a means by which we can measure the public relations value of George W Bush and New Orleans. One way is by comparative analysis and the only way this can be don is from a perspective of the publics concerned.

From the perspective of the Washington political village, which currently is the most valuable of the two? Which offers the greatest opportunity for generating wealth. By asking the Washington political circles, it is relatively easy to identify the value of GWB v New Orleans.

In this way we can plan and react to crisis and issues.

Let us go back to September 1st 2005. On that day GWB has an issues, New Orleans had a crisis. The difference between the two is the difference between issues and crisis management. Crisis management threatens survival, issues are are the stuff of day to day management.

A value assessment on that day would have helped GWB manage his PR. In New Orleans the value assessment was of a different order and was changing by the minute. Nevertheless, for the mayor and Governor, such an assessment would have helped both handle the crisis more effectively.

Public relations is about managing wealth.