August 15, 2017

The Professionals

The Professionals

If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur.

The last few weeks in communications have been turbulent to say the least.

At the White House communications directors come and go more frequently than London buses while closer to home questions have been raised about the conduct of so-called PR advisors seeking profit from the tragic story of a couple’s attempts to access experimental medical treatment for their sick son.

Even closer to home a former Guernsey deputy outlined to the BBC her view that the States needs to invest in more communications professionals  to help politicians get their messages across – blaming a lack of comms support for the failure of key policies.  A swift response followed from the States to highlight their hardworking comms teams and the good work they do.

And having a good comms team is essential. It’s hard to imagine a senior communications professional making the sort of mistake Anthony Scaramucci made in his first (and only) week in the job. His appointment highlights a dangerous thought process that can often be found in business as well as politics – that communications is seen as something that ‘anyone’, even a hedge fund manager with no communications experience or credentials, can do.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Businesses should invest properly in communications. Again and again success in the world of 24-hour news and social media scrutiny is proven to hinge on excellent communication; reputations may take less time to build than they did before social media but, equally, the time it takes to lose one has been reduced to seconds.

Communications should be handled by professionals. It would be deemed irresponsible (and in some cases illegal) for a business to have its accounts managed by someone with no financial qualifications or rely on legal counsel from anyone but a qualified lawyer or have their buildings designed by someone without any formal training. It should be the same for communications.

The PR industry has its own ‘qualified individuals’ called Chartered Practitioners. The CIPR is right to drive this certification forward – making chartered status the goal of every PR practitioner; ensuring it is the benchmark businesses and organisations can rely on when hiring in-house, consultancy or freelance comms professionals.

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