Babson College President Len Schlesinger asked more than 200 public relations agency professionals at last week’s 2009 Critical Issues Forum (sponsored by the Council of Public Relations Firms @CouncilPRFirms) at the Yale Club in New York to write down the essence of what public relations people do. After a minute, he asked for a show of hands to demonstrate on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being most confident, who felt that their written response would be a 5?
Only two PR people raised their hands, and both happened to be sitting at my table: Louis Capozzi, former head of MS&L PR, former chair of the Council, as well as my longtime mentor and a former boss; and well, me. I didn’t see Lou’s response, but I wrote that PR agencies “help clients dialog with their audiences for the purpose of advancing their organization goals.” But I’m sure Lou’s answer was smarter than mine. When I find out, I’ll let you know. But I felt strongly about mine.The Critical Issues Forum was headlined “Aftershock: Rebuilding Trust & Confidence in 2010,” and while we all pondered the myriad problems, there’s scant agreement on how to get to sunnier skies. (more…)