Pandemic reinforced the effective value of ethical spin
Two thirds of Public Relations practitioners surveyed on their post-Covid perceptions believes the pandemic has helped to improve PR reputation in business and in society.
The State of the African PR Industry Report, commissioned by the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) and conducted by Reputation Matters, examined the perception of PR, attitude on ethics, developing talent, and the challenges and opportunities facing the industry in the future.
PRCA said they are the world’s largest professional PR body, representing more than 35,000 practitioners in 82 countries around the globe.
The study, which surveyed more than 550 practitioners from 27 countries across Africa, paints a picture of a vibrant, growing industry that has emerged in a position of strength despite the disruption from the past two years. In fact, 33% of respondents said their strategic counsel is valued more than ever by business leaders, and a further 27% said they feel valued at board level.
However, the pandemic has created significant challenges for the African PR industry, with 36% of respondents having had their employment affected. And despite the growing overall optimism, 62% believes reduced budgets still pose the greatest risk to the industry’s future.
PRCA Africa Chair Jordan Rittenberry said “The pandemic’s impact has been felt differently in different parts of Africa, and elsewhere in the world, but what all geographies have in common is a heightened appreciation of the value of good communications.
“Whether through public health campaigns promoting COVID-19 safety measures, to reassuring crisis communications from companies facing unexpected incidents, those organisations able to effectively connect with key audiences and stakeholders have been more effective and resilient during the pandemic.
The importance of ethical, effective communications has never been more evident than today as the world grapples with disinformation across various media. Encouragingly, the majority of PR practitioners feel the profession is viewed as ethical. Only 13% of respondents said they had been asked to act unethically within the past 12 months.
Nearly half (47%) of PR professionals say that they will be back in the office full-time once COVID-19 restrictions are fully lifted. Many will spend at least some of their time working from home, while a small number are still unsure.
Digital and social media is a clear leader in terms of increased importance during the past two years. It was closely followed by reputation management and crisis management, both of which have been particularly relevant during the pandemic.
(Original distributed by African Media Agency)