The practice of pr in the philippines101Presentation Transcript
Joel Lacsamana Managing Partner TruNorth PR Consultancy
Practice of PR in the Philippines has come a long way.
Grown in terms of numbers and sophistication.
Both government and business recognize PR as important management function dedicated to bringing about harmony and a desired public image
Practitioners use PR tools and a great deal of creativeness and imagination
provide solutions to PR problems, some of them high profile, and of crisis proportions.
Outstanding programs are seen eventually and explained for their significance in the annual Anvil Awards competitions of the PRSP, and the Quill Awards of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)
PR tools are evolving. They now include digital communications
New darling of PR is The New Media.
The traditional press release that used to be hand-carried to news desks of both print and
broadcast media is getting out of fashion
The tools have changed but responsibility for managing their application in this technology-driven environment still rests in the hands of the public relations professional
Measure of recognition of importance of PR: proliferation of Vice Presidents in big corporations and persons occupying high positions in government doing PR work
In the old days, most early practitioners were experienced journalists.
So-called PR people belonged to a section of advertising firms or located very low in the bureaucracy writing press releases dictated by the boss
Today’s PR professionals plan and direct image-building strategies using advertising as one of several PR tools
As public relations matured, companies/orgs realized that PR is more than transmitting messages.
PR practitioners not just message technicians with the communication skills to construct and transmit messages.
Problem-solvers or relationship-builders
Search for PR practitioners with different, non-journalism backgrounds.
Non-journalist, public relations practitioners with business or management degrees.
Broader knowledge of contemporary management theory
More focus on bottom line profitability
Had special expertise in areas like marketing, personnel
(i.e. human resources), or industrial psychology
Influx of non-journalists into PR departments led to creation of hybrid departments:
Marketing public relations, marketing communications, employee communication, or personnel relations
Opportunities for broadly-educated, quick-thinking, and flexible PR practitioners abounded
Creative, enthusiastic people, regardless of their backgrounds, could find niches for themselves.
Colleges now provide public relations career preparation.
Schools like PLM, DLSU, Ateneo, UP, UAP have added public relations to their curriculum (new programs and even new departments of public relations
Some simply expanded existing departments to encompass public relations:
e.g. Print-journalism programs which were already expanding to include such offshoots as broadcast journalism, expanded added public relations to their curriculum.
Today, writing and editing skills remain important, but no longer sole element in effective public relations
Upper-level PR practitioners now need to be masters of management strategies as well as communication skills
Thorough knowledge of disciplines and environments in which their organizations operate
Students following a traditional journalism program -- even one with a public relations specialty -- won't get the breadth of expertise they'll need
Neither will those seeking an organizational
communication degree, a communication arts degree, a marketing degree, or a business management degree
Future PR practitioners need to expand horizons --business, communication, psychology, information science, and audiovisual production
FACT: Chief executives today need more than a wordsmith.
They need someone to :
orchestrate their appearances
develop and articulate their themes
build their media connections
research their chosen issues
develop their positions
help them to express themselves persuasively
Over 100 members of the PRSP
Many others freelancing or belonging to PR and advertising agencies.
Practitioners in the government have their own organization.
Most heartening development is growing bias towards social and community-oriented projects
Useful in a developing country with a large part of the population living below the
Most corporate practitioners have budgets for these projects under the umbrella of
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
First local CSR project : establishment in 1971 of the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP)
Requires every member company to set aside one percent of its profits before taxes every year
for CSR projects
PR industry’s answer to leftist charge of big businesses neglecting the poor during the cold war
Money is used to fund projects to alleviate poverty and protect the environment
Fairly recent development in local PR is the mushrooming of ‘kapihans’, or regular meeting places in coffeeshops,
PR and media people go regularly to rub elbows with the government and business leaders at breakfast or lunch time.
Meetings are not structured, mostly social
Provides opportunity for networking for PR people and buttonholing news sources on the part of news media
There are problems
Training. It is inadequate. There is no uniform understanding of what PR is and what it can do
Veterans learned PR in the ‘University of Hard Knocks’. Some still do today
Some new practitioners have degrees in Mass Communications. There are PR seminars but they come far between
Ethics also an issue.
Code of ethics, yes. Sanctions for noncompliance, no
Issue often arises in media relations
How PR favors given to media may influence their stories
Hurts PR’s reputation
PR becomes associated with manipulating facts and destroying reputations with cooperation of media
PR definition should be clear: we are in business of persuading people, not bribing media, to get our message across
Suggestion : formation of PR Board composed of leading practitioners to address ethics problems from an institutional perspective.
Has not taken off
Interestingly, there are mechanisms in place to enforce discipline in ranks of advertising and
Alternative to policing local PR ranks is government licensing, but this anathema to long-held belief that PR is a part of expression which cannot be abridged or curtailed in any way
PR has a PR Problem
You will not learn in PR school -- how to set up fake grassroots organizations and front groups
disseminate false or misleading information in order to manipulate public opinion and influence public policy
You will not learn the above -- until many years later, when you are deep into your career as a corporate communications executive
PR can, and is being used, to good ends
Even the noblest of causes can benefit from the services of a communications expert to
clarify facts, disseminate information, and counter unfair arguments
And there are plenty of ethical PR people out there who do this
But PR is now woven into every
major industry and movement in today's mass media reality
The stakes of spin have become incredibly high.
And ethics do slip
PR often crosses the line into misleading, withholding, or simply lying.
When it does, society suffers
Front groups should not be used to cover up the true intent of a client
Biased research surveys should not
purport to be factual representation of the views of the public
And communications campaigns where clients say one thing and mean another -- are duplicitous
PR firms and their clients should be dedicated to the long-term success of their business
This is achieved by honest and accurate communications
This should be the only approach tolerated by PR firm
Code of Ethics developed by PRSP states that PR people must "be honest and accurate in all communications" and "avoid deceptive practices" and "reveal the sponsors for causes and interests represented (in other words, no fake grassroots, blogs or front groups, please),"
Decline representation of clients or organizations that urge or require actions contrary to this code."