I can't tell whether this is the best of times or the worst of times for the PR industry. As the country supposedly inches its way towards an election year, the unemployment figures across the board remain bleak.
While many people proclaim that PR will prevail in the fight to gain hegemony over the domineering and traditional Marketing department, all see not to be well.I had lunch with a couple of old colleagues this week who said their publicity-only shop is alive and well without any social media offering.
"We never come across clients who are interested in anything other than mainstream media coverage," one dismissively told me after hearing my experience from the other side of the coin as a client where you have the agency leading your way.
A short glimpse of Kenya,the other day a leading Bank in the region that had a fully fledged PR department spearheading several communication campaigns across the region was recently restructured and PR was hidden under an ambiguous department that will see the PR head reporting to the Chief Business Officer.
A leading mobile telephony company re-did their reporting structures only to push the PR role to a minute position that reports to the head of legal who in return reports to the CEO.
Wait..PR is a strategic role,it defines the fortunes of the company by enhancing and maintaining the image of the business which helps the business to grow in terms of volumes.
According to a survey carried out on the Status of PR in the country, Majority of the PR practitioners cited lack of support from the organizations they work for;ranging from budgets,personnel or even recognition by the top management.
As the whole world discovers the importance of Public Relations to the organization, our country seems to lag behind as we clutch to the traditional Marketing role where PR was a support sub section in the Marketing Department.
As a PR practitioner, I believes that our industry's glass is half full, not half empty, and opportunities are abound. To drink from it, however, practitioners must broaden their understanding of the strategic role of the profession and also embrace the new new tools of the trade.
This is where the jobs will be found. But it won't be that easy to reclaim the strategic role..