Public relations is an agent of change in Africa, says new report

The State of the Public Relations Landscape in Africa 2022 The report found that – from developing effective crisis management strategies and finding ways to minimize reputational risk for clients, to expanding client reach across digital and social media – the The shift in focus towards these areas of work has been substantial in the African region.

Source: © Matthias Ziegler 123rf Findings from the state of the PR landscape in Africa in 2022 show the agility and credibility of PR

The report, the first report of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) Africa, which is the newest branch of this global professional PR body, surveyed more than 550 public relations and communications professionals from 27 African countries.

Positive change for business

Two findings in the report show the agility and credibility of the public relations (PR) industry as well as its broad reach to bring tangible and positive change to businesses.

According to the report, 67% of respondents say the perception of public relations has improved over the past two years. Additionally, when asked to describe the position of the profession in the boardroom, 33% said leaders rely on public relations advice more than ever.

“Around the world, public relations professionals are increasingly occupying strategic and senior positions in business – but there are still organizations where it is a relatively ignored or misunderstood discipline,” the report notes. .

Trust the PR

For Karena Crerar, CEO of Edelman Africa, involving PR and communications professionals and agencies earlier on the strategic and business advisory team has value far beyond just managing ‘a crisis.

“We often find, from a reputation management perspective, that when hit by a crisis, companies like to hold their cards close because they don’t know at that time who to trust” , she explains.

“They tend to only hire a lawyer at this point, which is definitely the right thing to do, but it’s so important to get a reputation management partner with an ‘outside view’ “because otherwise you are consulting in an echo chamber.”

According to Crerar, the benefit of having PR and communications professionals drive corporate communications from the start is to ensure that you always have the right advice and positioning, long before to need it in a crisis.

Reputation management is critical to business decisions

Digital and social media lead the way

The PRCA Africa report critically notes the changing role of the sector and asked respondents which public relations activities they believe have become more important in their country over the past two years.

Digital and social media led the charge in terms of increased importance to practitioners at 51%, followed by reputation management at 48% and crisis management at 47%.

To that, Crerar posits, “I think the pandemic has provided an opportunity for communications consultants to elevate their role for businesses and really have a seat at the table in terms of real, risk-related conversations.”

She adds, “This has created many unknown scenarios and challenges that have left some companies with no choice but to seek outside expertise.”

On the other hand, many PR firms such as Edelman were mobilizing globally to determine best practices for clients based on research and expertise.

The covid effect

According to the report, Covid-19 has contributed to a decline in the importance of planning and organizing events, as they have shown only low levels of importance over the past two years. This is understandable in the context of widespread lockdowns and restrictions on gatherings put in place by many countries in the region.

As for what she would like to see moving forward for the industry, Crerar says, “I believe communications have a fundamental role to play in many aspects of business, including but not limited to limited to, employee engagement after the ‘big quit’, sustainability strategies and goal-oriented work.

“I think going forward it’s about continuing to find ways to elevate the role we play in helping organizations build trust with their stakeholders – regardless of areas of the business. that are led by – to achieve lasting impact and results.”

Public relations is an agent of change in Africa, says new report

Source link Public relations is an agent of change in Africa, says new report

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