by Sarah Waddington
There is a lot of talk about the threat to PR as disciplines merge.
Some argue that with the evolution of comms, PR and marketing are now one and the same. Many continue to assert that PR is a subset of marketing.
In truth, PR holds much greater value as a strategic management tool and is far from a dying art.
PR’s unique gift is its ability to build mutually beneficial relationships with an organisation’s stakeholders to help it achieve its goals. No other comms discipline has such influence or can complement and even correct other marketing techniques in the way PR can.
In 1999, Dr Jon White presented a paper to the Swiss Public Relations Society that stated that the future was bright for PR practitioners.
This was dependent on practitioners recognising ‘the opportunities presented by the environment and management needs’ and taking ‘steps to educate and train themselves’, as well as making ‘full use of communication technology, to provide reliable, if not indispensable, services to managers as they seek to deal with complexity and manage successful businesses.’
Very little has changed.
Time to grasp the opportunity
This is where #FuturePRoof comes in.
The aim of the #FuturePRoof books and community is to remind ourselves of the inherent value of PR and to increase awareness of the role it plays in driving business success.
Alongside this, the books are designed to provide a practical guide to some of the key issues facing the managers of comms teams today.
Their purpose is to drive up standards and professionalism, engender innovative thinking and to encourage PR practitioners to create disruption, not just embrace it.
A wealth of bright minds and best practice
The three crowdsourced #FuturePRoof books team with best practice advice and guidance thanks to the wealth of talent featured within them. They provide context on the world in which we operate today. They offer practical solutions to daily challenges while scanning the horizon and looking at how to identify and navigate ‘what’s next’.
Each book has a stellar line up and I am grateful to all the contributors for giving up their time free of charge and sharing their expertise so generously.
The fourth #FuturePRoof book is a change from the norm but the ethos is the same; to recognise and celebrate best practice and talent. This time people are the focus and brought to life in pen and ink portraits.
My thanks go to Stephen Waddington for helping to shape #FuturePRoof from concept through to fruition. Stephen has a special talent for building highly engaged communities for the greater good. It is by following this collaborative model that #FuturePRoof was realised. Equally, it's through his ongoing support that the #FuturePRoof podcast was born and continues to thrive.
And finally... #FuturePRoof is a real passion project and I'm often asked how it's funded. I personally invest in the design, production and marketing. The content is available on this website and regularly promoted on social media so it’s free and as accessible as possible to all. I hope you enjoy the #FuturePRoof series of books as much as I have enjoyed curating, writing and editing them.
Sarah Waddington is an experienced management consultant helping organisations to articulate their purpose and optimise performance.
A pioneer of best practice, she was awarded the CIPR’s Sir Stephen Tallents Medal for exceptional achievement in public relations and is the winner of the PRCA’s Outstanding Contribution in Digital Award.
Having built a reputation as an ethics tsar and diversity and inclusivity champion, she is a strong advocate of accountable leadership and women in business and believes in helping young talent break through.
Sarah is the CIPR's Immediate Past President, a member of the Northern Power Women Power List, features in the PRWeek UK Power Book and is a regular speaker at industry events. Her PR-related blog is one of the top ten in the UK according to Vuelio.
Sarah is proud to be on the Athena40 Global Committee, an initiative launched by the Global Thinkers Forum to discover and acknowledge the work of the 40 most dynamic, active and fearless female thought leaders, columnists, commentators and activists across all industries and from all over the world.
She was the first North East practitioner to become Chartered, a status that recognises the highest standard of knowledge, expertise and ethical practice within the PR industry and is a benchmark of professional excellence and integrity.
The founder and editor of #FuturePRoof, a series of books and community aimed at reasserting the role of public relations as a management function, Sarah co-edited a white paper with Stephen Waddington characterising the public relations agency business and another exploring the mental wellbeing of the profession.
She spearheaded and has led the CIPR's gender policy work from 2014 onwards and in 2018 launched a joint initiative between the CIPR, PRCA and Career Ready to improve social mobility within the industry.
Sarah was a Trustee of the Sunshine Fund for four years, during which she worked with the Board to set a new strategic direction for the charity, leading to a 40% uplift in income through Trust grants and donations. She is currently a non executive director for technology marketing and PR agency Resonance Crowd and a member of the NHS’s Organ Donation Advisory Panel, which has secured Royal Assent for a change in the law by April 2020.
Sarah has completed Non Executive Director training with NEDA at the London Stock Exchange and holds a certificate in Organisational Leadership from the Institute of Leadership and Management. She has an MA in Marketing from Northumbria University, a BA (Hons) in French and Media from Leeds University and is a Google Squared digital marketing graduate.
When she’s not at work you’ll find her busy being Mum to two boys and walking her cocker spaniel Madge. You can also catch her being rather noisy on Twitter @Mrs_Wadds.
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