Ethics Corner

Business Ethics

There’s Definitely a Business Case to Be Made for Public Relations…

I recently had the opportunity to ring the opening bell for the NASDAQ – a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I clearly had never placed on my bucket list. Even more curious, it was done for an organization that is not a listed or public company. I was there representing a professional association of public relations professionals, which represents a multibillion-dollar global industry.

So how did this happen? It was the result of an advocacy program for public relations launched by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) to outline the value and impact that public relations has on an organization’s success – The Business Case for Public Relations.

Many don’t understand the essence of our business. Stylized notions of celebrity publicists and Beltway spokespeople pervade the news and popular culture, and the term “PR” itself has become common shorthand for the impression – good or bad – that organizations create.

That’s why PRSA developed The Business Case for Public Relations. The program showcases the role of public relations and the professional value it delivers to essential business outcomes:

  • Distinct skills provide services like crisis mitigation, reputation and brand building, wealth creation and consumer engagement.
  • More than other communications and marketing disciplines, public relations engages all stakeholders of an organization, identifying and delivering impacts that are strategically aligned with concerns of the boardroom, employees, customers and investors.
  • Public relations skills are critical to restoring waning public confidence in government and financial institutions as well as being essential to define, develop and maintain the transparency that consumers expect from the companies with whom they choose to do business.

Today more than ever before, companies and organizations need the value that public relations can deliver. As consumer engagement grows through social media, companies will need to outline an increased ability to manage the relationship and conversation that impacts their success in the marketplace. But companies need to engage a public relations professional that understands how to research, plan, execute and evaluate based upon the organization’s defined objectives in order to achieve value.

If your public relations activities are focused on business output and media clips instead of business outcomes, then you are coming up short in a return on your investment. On the other hand, your investment in public relations will garner attention when you can show how that investment delivers value in financial performance by generating sales, revenue and profit; improves your brand equity and reputation; allows for stronger and more efficient employee recruitment and retention; and increases the support you seek for policy decisions or achieving market position.

I hope that you will take time to find out more about the value of public relations on an organization’s performance by visiting Moreover, I hope that you find and define the value that public relations is currently delivering or can definitely deliver in your organization.
Joseph F. DeRupo
Associate Director, Public Relations
Public Relations Society of America
33 Maiden Lane, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10038-5150
Phone: 212-460-1495
Fax: 212-995-0757