Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A new manifesto

It may now be time to look at the direction of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. I declare an interest. I am a Fellow.

What do these things have in common: Ships, Metalled Roads, Canals, Newspapers, Railways, Cars, Lorries, Aeroplanes, Radio, Telephone and Television? All are forms of communication and all brought great wealth. Without them, modern man is poor and deprived.

If I add a new range of channels that makes the foregoing more productive and that have a direct impact on a majority of citizens and an indirect impact on all citizens. It would be an economic colossus. It is the Internet.

Not just web sites, email, SMS, Instant Messenger, blogs, podcasts, wikis and MUDS ( Second Life to most) but all the enabling capabilities, and strategic significance. It is many channels for communication and the infrastructure as well. It is core to PR practice as this podcast explians.

The big issues are then about Richness (e.g.Net Neutrality), Reach (e.g. the absence of Internet access for the disadvantaged), Speed (e.g. affecting practitioners because the half life of news decreasing all the time), Transparency (e.g. which is affecting corporate trust – try the podcast here), Porosity (as an issue affecting internal communication), Agency (e.g. because it affects the value of corporate assets ).

Richness, Reach, Speed, Transparency, Porosity and Agency are the five core issues for the CIPR in an Internet mediated era.

Big issues all, for an Institute involved in communication, and perhaps more significant than a travelogue.

These are not just the issues for the President or his successor, they go to the heart of decision making and the professional advice given to those who make decisions that affect the organisation and both the wider PR industry and associated professions.

There is a desperate need for an authoritative voice for all the relationship management sectors.

But such is a strategic decison.

In the meantime...

There is a new CIPR Market Report is an expensive (£840) document (ever heard of transparency - I guess a lot of this stuff will be availble online for free soon if it has any real value). It talks of Blogging and Podcasting... I wonder if it looks beyond the tools to the strategies relevant for inclusion of social media in Public Relations - including relationship management - (the high value-add stuff) or are we still in the agentry business?

What about the economic contribution of PR. The range of practice and skills of members is different to the survey now used by the Institute and was by no means inclusive (for example, it missed out big chunks of events management). It under-values the PR industry by factors. Pretty profound research huh! Time to get a grip on who this institution represents and what they contribute.

The nature of the job is changing. It has to change because the PR value chain is changing. There is a need to re-focus the direction of the industry.

New discoveries are affecting how we understand communication and relationships. It is important for the professional industry to monitor developments that affect practice and keep members up to date.

The budgets for online work are growing and are demanding. They require response to aid members. The skill base needs to be more widely exploited.

There is a need for a new Manifesto for the Institute to meet the demands of a new era.



PS... If you really want to know how importnat Net Neutrality is have alook here!