Public Relations Group Embraces Its Nickname

In its most recent rebranding, the Council of Public Relations Firms decided the best way to put a fresh spin on its image was to build on what people are calling it already: the PR Council.

The masters of generating buzz are looking to create some for themselves with a little rebranding.

The Council of Public Relations Firms announced its plans this week to more fully and formally embrace the common shorthand for its name—the PR Council—with a new logo to match.

“Very few refer to us as the Council of Public Relations Firms,” the association says in a Q&A on its website’s manifesto page explaining the shift. “They refer to us as either ‘the Council’ or ‘the PR Council.’ We decided it was time to be in sync from a communications perspective, so the new logo is a representation of that reality and our optimistic view of the future.”

The industry group, which has been around since 1998, hopes to use some of the energy around the PR Council rebranding to also help shift its focus. For example, it will focus more of its energy toward showing chief marketing officers (CMOs) the value of public relations at a time when newer strategies such as social media and content marketing are starting to change what public relations means.

“If you look at the findings from [CMO] surveys, they reveal that [CMOs] are drowning in complexity as marketing takes on everything from big data to social, mobile and location-based marketing, content marketing and more,” PR Council Chairman-elect Christopher Graves, who also serves as the global chairman for Ogilvy Public Relations, told The New York Times. “Meanwhile, reputations still take a long time to build but are destroyed faster than ever.”

The Term PR Still Matters

The industry has had its share of knocks in recent months. For example, a blog post by Edelman after the suicide of actor Robin Williams that framed his suicide as “an opportunity to engage in a national conversation” on depression struck many as insensitive. The post came just days after the PR firm created a stir by suggesting it would be willing to take on climate-change deniers as clients.

For a while, the council’s working committee even considered dropping all references to “public relations” from its name—something that evokes a similar move by the American League of Lobbyists, which changed its name to the Association of Government Relations Professionals a year ago.

But ultimately, the firm found that even as the field was expanding, the term still deserved a role in front of the conversation.

“We decided to stick to who we are but acknowledge it’s evolved and expanded,” Cohn & Wolfe North American President Jim Joseph told The Times. “We want to make sure young talent thinks about public relations.”

(Vimeo screenshot)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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