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PR and Social Purpose

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A presentation for the CIPR's Channel Islands PR Forum on social purpose and how this drives organisational success

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PR and Social Purpose

  1. 1. PR and Social Purpose The Channel Islands PR Forum 2018 Sarah Hall @Hallmeister
  2. 2. About me
  3. 3. About #FuturePRoof A handbook for senior practitioners looking at the changing face of the industry The story of public relations as a management discipline www.futureproofingcomms.co.uk @WeArePRoofed Facebook community Podcast on iTunes and Spotify
  4. 4. Defining purpose The Chartered Management Institute defines organisational purpose as: “An organisation’s meaningful and enduring reason to exist that aligns with long-term financial performance, provides a clear context for daily decision- making, and unifies and motivates relevant stakeholders.”
  5. 5. The importance of purpose At times of prolonged austerity and political, societal and technological change, relationships between organisations and the public change Consumers scrutinise where to invest their hard-earned cash They seek brands aligned with their values and which, recognising their customers’ daily challenges, are committed to alleviating these Businesses not living their values risk being called out publicly, with the reputational damage and negative impact to the bottom line that results Social purpose is an issue rising up the corporate agenda – see Larry Fink’s anniversary letter to CEOs last January
  6. 6. The importance of purpose In The Power of Purpose John O’Brien and Andrew Cave set out five drivers behind the increased demand for corporate purpose outside of wealth creation: 1. A need for established companies to find new, authentic ways of creating sustainable value across all stakeholders 2. Entrepreneurs wanting to demonstrate a deep sense of personal purpose as they carve out new areas of business and social enterprise 3. Government agencies looking to create collective communities of purpose-driven people, engaged in civil society 4. Individuals looking to make an impact on the people and issues they care about 5. Charities and NGOs wanting to create clarity around their rationale and operations to deliver enhanced impact
  7. 7. The importance of purpose It’s not just a ‘nice thing to do’ Having a purpose creates company value, as noted by David Grayson, Chris Coulter and Mark Lee in their book All In: The Future of Business Leadership: 1. Purpose drives financial performance 2. It is a powerful vehicle to drive consumer engagement 3. Purpose supports talent acquisition, especially among millennials 4. It contributes to employee satisfaction, business transformation and customer loyalty
  8. 8. The importance of purpose This is echoed by the Chartered Management Institute which, in its ‘The What, The Why and The How of Purpose’ report, heralds purpose as a powerful business tool which can: 1. Increase legitimacy 2. Attract and retain talent 3. Drive strong stakeholder and customer relationships 4. Increase employee psychological welfare 5. Increase business performance
  9. 9. Purpose helps brands gain legitimacy “No organisation is an island. We live in a world where what you do and what your values are, are coming under increased scrutiny. “The role of communicators is to help organisations understand the legitimate expectations of all stakeholders and to help senior managers make informed decisions which demonstrate they have a social as well as a business purpose.” Professor Anne Gregory, chair in corporate communication at the University of Huddersfield
  10. 10. What is PR’s role? Seventy years ago, the rationale for founding what was then the IPR was to achieve mutual understanding and good relations The Institute’s fathers came from local government had accountable leadership and social purpose at the front and centre of their work This higher purpose may have faded in ensuing years but have no doubt that we are returning to that original focus
  11. 11. What is PR’s role? According to the Word Economic Forum’s Survey on the Global Agenda, 86% of respondents believe there is a leadership crisis in the world today Edelman’s Trust Barometer 2018 reports that trust in business is down to 43% Only a quarter of the population now trust social media as a source of news and information Public relations practitioners are well placed to help organisations find their ‘why’ and agree their ‘how’ – and most of all build long-term, sustainable relationships between an organisation and its publics based on two-way engagement, transparency, authenticity and trust
  12. 12. What unifies these campaigns? • An alternate position • Bravery and authenticity • Political stance • An increase in: Customer engagement Sales Customer loyalty
  13. 13. Proactive stance beats defensive • Reputation slow to build, quick to lose • Market share hard to rebuild • Social and environmental responsibility an integral part of good business
  14. 14. Where is the opportunity? • Use of public discourse and customer insight to set the organisational agenda • Consideration of environmental, social and governance matters as a path to sustainable growth • Agreement of the why and how with rationale • Meaningful stakeholder dialogue to achieve buy in • Positions on key issues such as extremism; fake news and cyberbullying (one of the greatest threats to free speech)
  15. 15. Where is the opportunity? • Crisis planning • CEO activism, capitalising on rising trust in CEOs (see Edelman Trust Barometer) • Wider industry partnerships with Google, Facebook, ASA, Internet Advertising Bureau etc in the fight against fake news. The USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism 2018 Global Communications Report shows that 92% of PR executives find fake news an ethical problem for the PR profession, followed closely by purposeful distortion of the truth
  16. 16. Demonstrating PR’s value This type of advice reasserts public relations as a strategic management function and underline the roles it plays in organisational success It’s why strategic, ethical and leadership competencies need to be the norm and Charter status commonplace Business, finance and management competencies are critical to operate in an elevated advisory capacity and speak truth to power Ultimately PR can place social purpose and accountable leadership at the heart of organisational strategies to drive company value over the long-term It’s good for employees, it’s good for society, it’s good for business
  17. 17. Thank you – any questions? Sarah Hall @Hallmeister sarah@sarahhallconsulting.co.uk www.sarahhallconsulting.co.uk 07702 162 704

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