Thanks For Listening, PRSA

I have been a vocal blogger detractor as soon as I saw the three definitions recently revealed by PRSA as a result of its  Public Relations Defined project. I’ve not been the only one. The blogosphere has been a hotbed of dissension, and PRSA was doing its level best to disperse task force members to respond and issue guest posts on the most important blogs with the largest communities.

Blog posts have been written by Gini Dietrich, Frank Strong, Paul Roberts, Brian B Wagner, Anthony Rodriguez, Chris Nahil, Ken Mueller, Krista Giuffi, PR Daily and so many, many more. I never saw anyone supporting the three definitions during this process.

Today, just a bit ago (that’s the beauty of blogging!), a comment from PRSA was posted on Spin Sucks where PRSA had guest posted and the community erupted in anti-sentiment.

PRSA has read, contemplated, heard, listened, and its response is right here by Arthur Yann extracted from Spin Sucks:

We know our Public Relations Defined project has caused angst and even some indignation among communication professionals. We tried to approach the project with fresh thinking, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. But, that’s how innovation happens, and how we learn to do better in the future.

We’ve read the articles, blog posts and comments like these, which have made it clear to us the discussion mustn’t stop with the vote on three candidate definitions that currently exist. PRSA is going to keep its Public Relations Defined blog up after the winning definition is announced, with the hope that we can continue to engage professionals, including those who’ve commented in this forum and elsewhere, in a discussion about the definition of public relations.

Consider this your invitation and your opportunity to come up with something better. We’ll provide any and all data from the first go-round. Our minds are open. If we can collectively move closer to a consensus definition of public relations, PRSA will support it. You can read more about our plans for moving forward here: http://bit.ly/xKiHhd.

I’ve already voiced my support at Spin Sucks in comments, as this comment from Arthur Yann was directed at me and my peers. I support this effort to keep the conversation going. I encourage each of us who expressed anti-remarks to keep this project front and center and participate.

Because of the collective voices  and INFLUENCE on all our blogs and comments, we have been heard. This is the fix that will hopefully lead to furthered discussion with everyone participating to reach better consensus on  how we define PR.

Thanks for listening, PRSA. I applaud.

16 comments
Anthony_Rodriguez
Anthony_Rodriguez

I still think accepting one these three definitions will not help move the industry forward among regular folk. Isn't that what the purpose of this exercise is for? With that being said, I appreciate PRSA will keep the dialogue open to improving the understanding of the industry. (Thanks for the mention of my post)

ginidietrich
ginidietrich

I'm still on the fence about this. I adore Arthur Yann. I would pretty much do anything (within reason) he asked. But I'm still not sold on all of this. 

 

I get this was a huge undertaking. I also get they did a ton of communication to reach both members and non-members. But I still don't think it moves the industry forward. 

 

That said, I've offered to help them any way I can, including more discussion on Spin Sucks and a guest blog post for them.

Latest blog post: #FollowFriday: Tony Bennett

Jason Fonceca
Jason Fonceca

That is a super-impressive response, and I'm glad to hear about it.

 

Will you be throwing your hat into the ring and taking up their call?

PaulRobertsPAR
PaulRobertsPAR

Jayme, I forgot to say - thank you for including me in your post. So, THANK YOU for including me in your post. I'm impressed with your positive outlook and how quickly you turned around this blog post, but the more I read it the more I'm convinced that is was simply a well written kiss off. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not sure anything changed. They heard us, but I'm not sure they are listening.

Krista
Krista

Thanks for the link, Jayme!

It's good to get an update on this project, and learn that the PRSA is listening to its critics. My thought was that they'd go ahead and make a selection regardless, but if they're open to continuing a dialogue, then that's a good thing as well. The level of engagement and response from the PRSA following that continued dialogue will determine whether or not this is just lip service or genuine.

balemar
balemar

It is so refreshing to see the PRSA listen! They could have turned a blind eye to it and lost a lot of respect of PR professionals everywhere, but instead, they said, "We hear you. We didn't do a good job. Help us do better." Honestly, what more can we ask?

cnahil
cnahil

I get it. This is a difficult task. Unfortunately, the "defintion by MadLibs" approach has resulted in a trio of vapid statements that I don't find to be particularly compelling. If any one of us took this route with a client's positioning and messaging needs we'd be justifiably axed in seconds. And I'm with @PaulRobertsPAR , though I think I find even less humility in it than he does. In fact, I'm moderately offended by the "there, there" pat-on-the-head tone at the tail end of that missive. I do plan to participate in the #PRdefined blog, now that my interest is piqued.

PaulRobertsPAR
PaulRobertsPAR

While the new found humility is refreshing, I can't be the only one that reads the bottom line as - we heard you, but we're still doing it our way, but feel free to keep talking about it after we are done.

The Mad Libs approach needs to be scrapped.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @ginidietrich That's OK. I think this step to do something beyond selecting an unacceptable definition is what was needed. Now, there will be Anderson Coopers all over the place (we can name several right here and at your house) who will "keep them honest."

 

My vested interest is to get to a place where we all don't choke defining PR. 

 

I also saw some comments elsewhere by allegedly younger practitioners who really didn't care about a definition and didn't know what all the hub-bub was. I will write about this b/c it's somewhat disturbing to me when the credibility of a profession is always taking heat and its professionals don't understand why we need to define public relations...BETTER.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

 @Jason Fonceca You bet. I'm hoping for the best, and I'm all in to help push this to the next level. It's been a haul and I was too excited to see a positive spin(?) on this. Many have a wait and see attitude, but the healthy dissension at least prompted serious listening. Those who negated loudly MUST get on board. It's kinda like if you don't vote, you can't complain or some such. Thanks, Jason!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

@PaulRobertsPAR Don't go scroogin' on me, Paul!! I think I really wanted a reaction that was more positive than all the detracting I was doing...I was feeling a tad guilty...there, I said it. Unlike me to be a naysayer; albeit, I am a rabbler. We'll see how this pans out...I'm hoping for the best!

Now, come be a contrib right here at this house!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

@balemar I am crossing fingers that this is spot on, B. Everyone wants to be positive on this and if this is a solution that works, all the better.

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

@cnahil@PaulRobertsPAR I was definitely quick to jump over and support. That doesn't mean I'm wearing blinders...maybe rose-colored glasses. Let's see how the $ melds to the mouth. I know I have to put mine right up there as I was such a detractor. Thanks for coming over!

Soulati | Hybrid PR
Soulati | Hybrid PR moderator

@PaulRobertsPAR Also, I'm thinking there needed to be a close to the 3 definitions somehow. Maybe those expecting a vote didn't know we were all negating? I have no idea, but, one of those will be selected and then more conversation, apparently, is imminent. I have to have faith...glass half full and all that jazz.

Frank_Strong
Frank_Strong

@Soulati | B2B Social Media Marketing@Krista Exactly. Cautiously optimistic. Though I notice my comment on PRSA's post hasn't been approved and several hours have passed. There's nothing in my remark that would be worth withholding. If the opportunity presents, I will absolutely get involved, and hope to bring more people as well.