The Public Relations Strategist

Introducing the Business Case for Public Relations

Publication Date: 2009, Fall

Source: SO02 Public Relations Strategist
Product Code: 6K-040906
Organization/Author/Firm: John Elsasser
Specialization(s): Corporate Communications
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In late October, PRSA introduced The Business Case for Public Relations. According to Michael Cherenson, APR, the Society’s 2009 chair and CEO, this PRSA-led advocacy effort is intended “to foster more accurate and better-informed perceptions surrounding the value and roles of public relations.”

The goal of the Business Case is to drive industry recognition and growth by helping professionals educate key stakeholders about public relations’ functions and outcomes, demonstrate its strategic value and enhance its reputation. It was created with the help of PR leaders, including representatives from APCO Worldwide, the Boston University College of Communication, Cooper-Katz, Edelman, GolinHarris, Hill & Knowlton, Ketchum, MWW Group and Wachovia.

Several PRSA resources are now available under The Business Case for Public Relations banner online, including:
o Suggested messaging to help you change entrenched attitudes and perceptions of public relations
o A database of measurement resources, categorized by industry and practice area, that offers practical guidance for demonstrating the value of communications programs
o Silver Anvil Award case histories organized by industry and business outcome

PRSA leaders hope that these tools and resources will motivate and empower you to help reshape internal and external perceptions of the profession. The resources and tools that PRSA is assembling here can also be used to help you:
o Measure the impact of your PR programs
o Communicate the roles, outcomes and value of public relations
o Create a better understanding and appreciation for what PR practitioners do

With this issue of The Strategist, we’re also starting the conversation about the Business Case for Public Relations. Among our features: five leading agency executives discuss why public relations matters now, CEO Nelson Marchioli talks about the importance of public relations at Denny’s and prominent international PR guru Michael Morley recognizes PR’s contribution to the bottom line.

Speaking out on health care

Also in this issue, Amy Jacques, associate editor of The Strategist, conducts an in-depth Q-and-A with Wendell Potter, APR, the former CIGNA executive who is now speaking out against the PR practices of the health care industry. It’s one of the most extensive interviews that you’ll read with Potter.

In addition, Amy talks with Chris Curran, director of corporate communications at CIGNA, about how the company is responding to the health care debate and helping to make the insurance process less complicated for consumers.

For more on Potter, you may read our online coverage of the 2009 PRSA International Conference from San Diego this past Nov. 7-10. Conference keynote speaker Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, talked with Potter during the opening General Session on Nov. 7.

Unveiling a new

Speaking of online coverage, PRSA unveiled its new Web site on Oct. 26. By now, I hope that you’ve had the opportunity to visit to see its clean, modern look and use the advanced search technology, powered by a customized Google Search Appliance.

We look forward to bringing you special features, including bonus articles and videos on our Web site, in the year ahead.