That was the question that was posed to PR Academy’s Kevin Ruck by the good folk at PR Moment. It started off as a question about what other professions PR people could move into, but we thought: ‘Hold up – why would you want to leave PR?’ We think PR people who want to stretch their wings should be looking to move up – not out. Wouldn’t it be great if PR was seen as an entry route to broader senior management roles? After all, as Kevin said in the PR Moment piece, if former BP CEO Tony Hayward had come up through the PR ranks, he might still be CEO today.
The thing is, lots of people in business still dont get what PR really is – they think that we are the ones who keep them out of the spotlight when something has gone a bit wrong or get them under spotlight when there is a fab new product to launch. No, no, no. Aren’t we meant to be the ones who think about reputation? Of course we are and we can only protect that reputation if we are in a position to influence what the organisation actually does. Not just what it says. That is why the PR qualifications have an emphasis on strategy and management theory too.
But there is hope in our business leaders of tomorrow. I was teaching the entry level CIPR qualification in PR (the Foundation award) to some sixth fomers recently and talking about the difference between marketing and PR. We talked about the ‘4 Ps’ of marketing – product, price, place, promotion and I asked them where they thought PR came into the mix, expecting them to say ‘promotion’. Quick as a flash one of the class said ‘product’. Because, she said, you want to make sure your company doesnt go manufacturing anything risky or controversial. Spot on and not bad for a sixth former with no business experience – I hope one day she makes CEO (and she would be a bloomin site better than most of those women on the latest Apprentice!!!)