Watch out for the new wave of communications dinosaurs

Posted on 18/12/2018


Any communications practitioner worth their salt should have two words at the front of their mind in 2019: Social Value.

It seems that what the PRCA National Conference heard about the importance of social value in communications is not getting through to the marketing community. So, let’s make this as clear as possible:

If you don’t consider the social value of what you do as a communications professional, you don’t deserve a future in the industry.

In fact, you’ll be like those PR dinosaurs who called social media a passing fad.

Why? Well, here’s two big reasons.

  1. You won’t get hired

The PR’s place at the marketing table is being eroded by digital specialists, ad agencies and even management consultants who are all speaking the language of social impact and social value.

Procurement increasingly asks for social value to be demonstrated across public and private sector supply chains.

Additionally, from a moral perspective in a post Bell Pottinger world, no PR can shy away from knowing exactly what the social impact and consequences of their work are.

  1. You won’t be able to hire

The Deloitte Millennial Study found a lack of trust in any for profit organisations. Other studies have shown how consumers are putting product quality and ethics on an equal footing.

If your organisation does not show your social value, you will be less attractive to the majority of the next generation you may wish to hire.

So we must do more to focus on what really matters, but the good news is that the vast majority of PRs’ will make a positive social impact through their work.

Celebrating this social impact should become the norm, yet relatively few organisations do this. That’s why the PR & Communications Association has launched a new definition of the social impact of PR and a benchmark survey to test your own social impact.

Two-thirds of respondents so far have discovered that they help contribute to one or more of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through their work.

In addition, from PR apprenticeships to working with Social Enterprise UK to “buy social” in the supply chain, PR and communications can have a huge positive impact on society over and above the impact of the work of communicators. It is the responsibility of all practitioners to understand the social impact of PR and be aware of the actions they are taking.

PR and communications professionals can provide feedback on the definition of social value by completing this survey:

A version of this post first appeared on the PRCA Blog.

Featured image by Sanjit Bakshi on Flickr