Opinions about branding by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

How Can Public Affairs/PR Specialists Prove Their Worth?

English: Phillippine stock market board
Image via Wikipedia
 Thought provoking article by Gordon G. Andrew, managing partner at Highland Consulting, "Why PR Is Often Missing At The Senior Management Table."

He argues that PR (in government, public affairs) isn't taken seriously by senior leaders because:
  1. They lack acknowledged credentials equivalent to an MD, MBA, etc. (I think to myself - this could be true;  PMP is a well-respected credential and has elevated project management's status)
  2. They make leadership uncomfortable because of their role with respect to enforcing the organization's values (e.g. PR folks hold leaders accountable for keeping their promises)
Andrew says that there are three possible routes upward:
  1. Prove the financial contribution to the bottom line - he concludes that this is difficult
  2. Prove that having PR folks on the senior leadership team acts to minimize risk
  3. If there is no choice - it occurs by "regulation or competitive influence"
He concludes that the best choice is #2 - show that PR minimizes risk.

"To quantify the tangible value of PR, it could be beneficial for the profession to conduct research that compares the long-term stock price volatility (or beta) of public companies that include PR in its senior level decision-making process against those companies that do not. If a stock’s beta reflects market uncertainty, then a company’s track record of consistently avoiding “PR problems” as well as its ability to address those issues quickly and effectively—as a result of having a PR professional involved in operational decisions—should have a measurable effect on its stock market valuation, cost of capital and brand reputation." 

So my question is, does Andrews' analysis apply to government too? Is it true, as a rule, that chief communicators are relatively out of the loop when it comes to operational decision-making?
And if so - how can that situation be addressed? Is risk minimization the right approach?

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Originally posted as a comment on GovLoop.
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