Every year, PRWeek publishes its Global Power Book of the most influential PR professionals around the world. In 2017, our very own Anne Green was included on the list for the third year in a row. Read more about what she has to say about the state of the PR industry today (as told to PRWeek).
Describe the past 12 months in four words.
Surprising, challenging, swift-moving, changing.
Complete this sentence: "For the comms industry, 2017 will be the year of..."
Grappling with fundamental tenets of our role and obligations as professional communicators, including the ethical dimensions of our field and the need to speak up for core communications values.
How serious is the "fake news" problem, and how should the industry address it?
This is a multi-dimensional issue with a tremendous impact on our field. First and foremost, it's critical for those in our profession to be clear about the vital role played by a free press, committed to journalistic standards of ethics, in any strong democracy. We must underscore that not all sources are equally credible. We must be ready to call a lie a lie. And we must also be willing to take a hard look in the mirror regarding the kinds of content we are disseminating for our own clients.
What is your professional ambition for the next 12 months?
To support our industry as a whole through my role on the board of directors of the PR Council in the United States. And to continue to speak out clearly regarding the ethical dimensions of our profession in the face of an ever-evolving array of challenges.
Is the uncertain geopolitical climate good or bad for the PR industry – and why?
Organizations of all types are facing a much more dynamic, changeable and challenging reputational environment. This is on top of the ongoing transformation of all communications channels (earned, owned, social, paid) relative to reaching ever-more-fragmented audiences. Plus, there is so much more interconnection and transparency now – no organization is ever "alone" in its sector or silo. All of this points to the continued, urgent need for the kind of thinking, counsel and nuanced approach to audiences that the PR industry, at its best, provides.
Will PR exist as a separate profession in five years' time – or will it be merged into marketing or UX?
My sense is that PR will continue to persist as its own profession, yet with an increasingly diverse and blended toolbox. To say that the entire field of PR, in all of its diversity and points of purpose, could be subsumed under a category like user experience (UX) is wrong-headed to me. However, I do feel the PR function will continue to migrate into marketing as a whole, as opposed to living in a more traditional corporate comms function.
How can PR resolve the gender pay gap?
A few points come to mind. Despite the preponderance of women in our field, the ranks of women at the very top (especially at the largest agencies and holding companies) remain thin. Supporting highly-senior growth paths for women is critical. Another issue is continuing to advance creative and flexible ways to accommodate life in the workplace. This includes the needs around having children, but also real issues such as aging parents, illness or other situations where women are often in a caregiver mode. Women also need positive reinforcement in their workplaces to advocate for themselves.
What was your favourite campaign of the past year?
I appreciated the REI #OptOutside campaign in the U.S. The backlash against the retail feeding frenzy of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday has been building for some time. But REI’s approach has felt very real and smart for the brand and what it stands for. And it backed it up with support, first and foremost, for its own employees.
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