From the Chair: Public relations in the age of dialogue
Sunil John, conference chair; Faisal Al-Zahrani, President, IPRA Gulf Chapter; Daniel Tisch, meet at the IPRA Gulf Chapter conference in Dubai, UAE
Earlier this month in Dubai, I spoke at an outstanding conference organized by the International Public Relations Association’s Gulf Chapter.
The location carried considerable symbolism: a great global city, in a region at an extraordinary crossroads between tradition and modernity, hosting a dialogue about a profession undergoing a similarly profound transition.
This change is not limited to the public relations or communication profession. It pervades almost every organization and society – autocratic or democratic -- as we adapt to an age in which both internal and external publics have unprecedented access to communication and therefore wield new influence and power.
It’s as true on the Arab Street as it is on Wall Street. Hence the theme of the conference: ‘PR in the age of dialogue.
How is the role of public relations changing?
The Global Alliance’s recent survey of almost 300 leaders of the world’s major PR industry associations provides some insights. It revealed that these leaders see three transformational opportunities for public relations today:
These roles are critical to the elevation of organizational communication from the popular perception that it’s about ‘spin’ and ‘feel-good’ benefits rather than a discipline that prizes transparency, authenticity and measurable contributions of value to organizations and to society.
The Global Alliance will debate and develop these three themes over the course of the year, culminating in a bold attempt to define a fresh ‘mandate’ for public relations in society at the World Public Relations Forum in Australia from November 17-20, 2012.
It’s a debate worth watching, and a dialogue worth joining. This is not only because communication is changing, but also because our organizations and our world are changing as a consequence.
Daniel Tisch APR, Fellow CPRS
Global Alliance Chair