PR: Right At The Heart of Modern Business

PR: Right At The Heart of Modern Business
  • Opening Intro -

    It used to be the case that PR operations were somewhat optional for a company.

    Even just ten years ago, companies could pick and choose whether they chose to have a separate marketing division without worrying too much about their profits.


Moreover, even when companies did have their own PR team, this team tended to be seen as less important than other teams.

PR work has a long history of being discounted as frivolous or unnecessary as success can be difficult to quantify . However, that has all changed. At the 2016 PRWeek Conference (which took place in October), there was a very different feeling about PR in the air.

Connecting with CEOS: the Future of PR

The latest PRWeek Conference was notable because there was a strong presence of CEOs and CMOs. Though not entirely unprecedented, having so many CEOs in the room this year demonstrated loud and clear that PR something that interests and affects personnel right at the top management levels.

One key example was Toby Cosgrove, who is the CEO of Cleveland Clinic. Cosgrove’s work focuses on disseminating medical information to the public and – as the doubling time of medical data has decreased very dramatically over the past decade – he is very open about the fact that he has to rely heavily on PR strategists and experts to disseminate this information in a way that is easy for members of the public to understand and to digest. One of the things that Cosgrove said was particularly positive about the role of PR in a firm – ‘you can never communicate too much’, he stated.

The CEO: a New Focus for PR Companies?

Usually, PR professionals are seen to be engaged primarily with communicating with the public. However, in the current climate it also looks like they will need to focus substantial effort on communicating with CEOs. As well as delivering an attractive message to customers, PR teams need to ensure that they explain clearly and engagingly to their CEOs just what their marketing message should be.

It is crucial, too, that two way channels of communication are kept open between CEOs and their PR teams so that feedback can be given and received on both sides. A direct link between CEOS and PR teams can only make a company stronger and more profitable.

CEOs Tips for PR Teams

One very useful aspect of the PRWeek Conference was the set of hints and tips that emerged for PR professionals who find themselves working more closely with CEOs. Intriguingly, one of the hints was to manage the CEO and be careful about the timing and types of information that is presented to them. CEOs are trained to act in a quick and decisive fashion in a way that could prejudice a successful PR campaign. This is one reason why very few CEOs manage the Twitter or other social media accounts of their company, leaving this job up to professional PR strategists. It takes one type of training to be a good CEO and another type to be a good PR professional.

Another tip was to always be bold about trying out new and different PR platforms and to take risks with new ideas and strategies. Other hints were ones that fell back on age old wisdom, such as the need to keep marketing messages simple, memorable and punchy.

Four Broadgate is a financial services and higher education public relations (PR) agency.

Career Management reference:

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