Today I attended my second CIPR Council meeting at CIPR HQ in Russell Square in my role as Chairwoman for CIPR Inside. I haven’t talked much about my role here (I plan to do more of that soon) but today we had some interesting discussion about the PR industry – what is wrong with the image and how we can change it.

After some discussion around some recent high profile cases, the conversation was starting to really consider what the challenges are for PR’s in today’s world. As the blurring of the lines between internal and external is on our agenda I wanted to know if they saw this as something that was on their radar too.

What was interesting was the discussion that followed, and I subsequently took to Twitter, around why we have communication in our departments and titles. Someone also suggested we should just be internal PR rather than internal communications.

Well, you certainly didn’t like that….

This just reinforces the reputation that PR has. The fact a group of people so closely linked to the industry don’t want to be associated with it speaks volumes.

What surprised me in the room was the conversation around management consultants and their role in the PR space. There was a fear that they could step into the shoes of a PR person  because they can “speak the language of the board”. This is not something I think any person in the world of communication should worry about – they should simply develop themselves and adapt to be able to do the same. I don’t see any value in worrying about something that is in your circle of influence (to quote Stephen Covey). Learning the language of business is one thing every internal communicator has to do and I thought the same of my colleagues focussing on the external side.

So when I took to Twitter again to ask what the perceptions were of PR and how we differed. It was lovely to see such succinct reasons for why we shouldn’t be called internal PR and why what we do is so different…

So with the debate no doubt far from over, we closed the discussion  to look at how we can improve PR’s reputation and the overall industry. There were lots of ideas around working with universities to make sure the courses are really fit for purpose as well as just getting on with the job and doing what we do well, ensuring that over time that old reputation will disappear.

With internal comms suffering similar challenges around its purpose, where it adds value and one of my biggest challenges which is the different levels you can have IC operating at in different organisation – we are all in this together to improve the perception of all communication disciplines.

But I can’t see myself ever being in “Internal PR”…