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PR Reality Check: The Indispensable Role of Today's Public Relations Pro

By Gerard Francis Corbett, APR, Fellow PRSA, Founder, Chair and CEO, Redphlag LLC

As we enter 2015, the importance of public relations today cannot be underestimated. Public relations is essential to a functioning of society and its enterprises. Public relations is crucial in building trust with people who have a vital stake in an organization’s operations and success. And public relations is an important mechanism in helping organizations, including governments, effectively carry out their missions and responsibilities.

As the current generation considers their impact on their employers and the next generation of public relations professionals proceed with their academic studies in public relations, it is useful to consider these facts about the role of today’s practitioners.

  • PR practitioners are no longer gatekeepers between their companies and the media. PR professionals are activists seeking to engage, enlighten, and energize an organization’s many stakeholders.
  • PR professionals advocate not just for their organizations but also for their organization’s constituents and stakeholders, which adds the important role of presenting the stakeholders interests and views to management.
  • PR practitioners also serve as strategic content developers and storytellers, helping their organizations formulate key messages that are resonant with the corporate culture and nature of the organization.
  • PR practitioners help an organization build mutual trust by encouraging transparency and integrity throughout the organization.
  • PR practitioners are counselors who actively advise and guide organizations in honestly communicating and behaving in the best interests of society and constituents such as customers, employees, shareholders, and the communities in which they operate.
  • PR professionals are enablers and connectors, helping organizations stay grounded, stay human, and stay sensitive to the needs and desires of their communities. In essence, the role of today’s public relations practitioner is akin to being the conscience of the organization, being ever vigilant to ensuring that the organization is “doing the right thing.”

Gerard (Gerry) F. Corbett is Founder of Redphlag LLC , a strategic branding and communications services and counseling firm and CMO of real estate startup Producers Forum, Inc.  Gerry has more than four decades of technology, PR and marketing experience in several Fortune 200 firms.  He also is past chair and CEO of the Public Relations Society of America  and an avid photographer, career coach and blogger.

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