Public Relations or simply PR is becoming a buzzword in Kenya’s corporate sphere. But, a simple scrutiny returns a gloomy verdict- most companies do not seem to understand why they need this machinery; practitioners fumble and mumble.
Small wonder, PR risks being relegated to the purgatory of body-corporate. Yet communication is too focal, too sacrosanct to wish away. It’s the treadle where all success in business and leadership orbit.
But, its time PR rose above the mediocrity of balloons and flowers, beauty and cocktails. PR should be strategic, motored by intellect.
To be fair, not all PR practitioners are as naïve. We have seen admirable intellectual engagement and strategic thinking rolling from PR cubicles, strategies that have hauled organisations from gloom to glory. But these are scarce and sparse.
PR has been cut into at least three – those who believe in the craft, those who think it is the fluffy title of management, but critically, it’s the strategic PR that carries the trophy.
The strategist has the entire spectrum of communication and its associates like sociology, psychology, and linguistics at his disposal. And thus he understands that by constructing a large reservoir of respect through strategic communication, advisories on quality, respect for stakeholders and environment, an organisation will ultimately accrue bountiful profits.
The strategist is simply ahead of the time. Strategists have an excellent understanding of the industry and institutions, society and statutes. They appreciate psychographics and demographics and they are masters of the instruments of communication.
PR calls for aligning thinking to the bigger corporate aspirations and strategies. The practice ordains that we must demonstrate understanding of the larger business focus indicating our ideas of how the organisation can take leadership, and use our tools of communication to facilitate such a growth.
Besides, strategic PR acts as the devil’s advocate. If the voice of reason prevails for instance, insisting on best practices, environmental diligence, treating people humanely and pursuing socially and legally acceptable means of production, progressively the market will gravitate to such an organisation and it will be a big reputation bounty.
A positive reputation is perhaps the biggest treasure trove that an organisation can amass. While propelling organisations to hard currency, goodwill cushions during crises.
In our strategic thinking we should smartly produce frameworks of future engagements that will direct the organisation to profits. These calls for ingenuity that will manage to synthesise the small pebbles of the organisation and integrate it with the societal demands, expectations and needs.
Smart PR of course weaves communication strategies and discourses around the organisations aspirations, philosophy and action. Normally, companies of substance are on the lookout for workable ideas. PR fellahs can use their communication stead to sell their ideas. That way they can earn respect and a place at the coveted management table.
PR should be able to unpack the business sphere of the organisation and constantly map out opportunities and areas of challenges. By acting as barometers of local and global trends, and swiftly adjusting organisational plans accordingly, PR would be offering a huge service to the corporate.
Innovation is a cardinal prerequisite of PR, and practitioners should shy off from the comforts of routine and average. We must develop workable and winning solutions to hook and woo the decision-makers.
Such a success will be a product of cutting-edge intellect, and anchored in discourse and rhetoric for that is the arsenal ordained to us.
Indeed, contribution to top-level strategies will only work if you can demonstrate that you understand the business and the market.
It should not be lost on us that moral and ethical imperatives remain the pillar of any practice. And oh, yeah, one final thing, PR is a battle of wit not of witches.