Three Salient Thoughts from Arthur W. Page Society President Roger Bolton

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Without question, thoughts from the president of the leading international society for senior public relations professionals across the corporate, agency, non-profit and academic disciplines would prove noteworthy, enlightening and compelling — especially for those of us who remain passionate about the state of public relations today. Well, that accurately encapsulates the casual presentation made by Roger Bolton, president of the Arthur W. Page Society.

Bridget Coffing, Maril Gagen MacDonald and Roger Bolton at the PRSA Chicago Senior Leaders presentation June 26.

In Chicago June 26 at the invitation of PRSA Chicago (where I serve on the 2018 Board), Mr. Bolton shared insight on the direction modern public relations is heading, the results of studies on corporate CEOs and CCOs, the mounting impact of technology and much more.

(Shout out to the PRSA Chicago Senior Leaders committee for organizing the event, securing great sponsors and of course, locking in Mr. Bolton.)

Before a packed and attentive audience in a second-floor hall at the classic Women’s Athletic Club of Chicago, Mr. Bolton provided way, way too much to chronicle in its entirety in this space. So, here are three comments that were especially poignant to me.

  • On the role of communications professionals: Defining the organization and its mission is a key role of corporate communicators. Mr. Bolton followed that thought with this equally important comment: The communicator’s job responsibility is to “not burnish the image of a flawed client.” Bravo, bravo!  Learn more from “The Authentic Enterprise” report produced by the Page Society in 2007 based on C-Suite interviews and research.
  • On coping with disruption caused by modern society: A 2016 report, “The New CCO,”  addressed the dramatically evolving role of the men and women charged with directing and guiding corporate communications. All industries, Mr. Bolton said, experience disruption from technology and many other forces; to address this within a corporation, CCOs must navigate ways to change the corporate culture to adapt to the inevitable instances of severance from the norm.
  • On the impact of artificial intelligence in modern communications.  Mr. Bolton noted that the results of some political races are being covered by machines due to a lack of live reporters on the scene. Artificial intelligence is a reality, but communicators should not be dissuaded from employing technology “to make human lives better.” He augmented that thought by stating that communicators today need “to use digital technology in an authentic way.”

The discussion was moderated by Maril Gagen MacDonald, founder of the strategic Chicago communications firm that bears her name.  My colleague on PRSA Chicago, Bridget Coffing, gave the introductory remarks.  Following Mr. Bolton’s unscripted commentary — which he delivered standing up, rather than from the comfy chair provided — there was a robust Q&A session that addressed diversity, the changing corporate culture and the arrival of the Millennial generation within the profession.

Riveted by the conversation and dialogue from fellow communicators, I headed home that rainy evening energized and emboldened. Clearly, the public relations profession will continue to maintain its position as a critical component of modern society.  Watch out AI: We ain’t going away.

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Did I Meet the Arment Dietrich Challenge?

By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)

Back in late December, I agreed to take on a new challenge. No, not announce that I’m in training for the 2017 Chicago Marathon, although I hope to build the stamina needed to run a 5K this year.

There's many graphic depictions of the PESO model. This one is courtesy of Mashable.

There’s many graphic depictions of the PESO model. This one is courtesy of Spin Sucks.

As noted in this December 15 post, I accepted the 30-Day Communications Challenge hosted by Arment Dietrich.  The goal was to complete tasks daily in order to develop a PESO Communications Plan.

What an opportunity: Learn through a structured, online, at-my-own-pace program how to incorporate the PESO model — an acknowledged standard for modern public relations and marketing — into my work.

I was inspired! I was dedicated! I faithfully completed my assignments! I learned a lot!

Then, I got bogged down. Then, I got busy. Then, I made excuses.

One “legitimate” excuse of sorts: In mid January I did start a new

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Studies into works from Russian master Vladimir Nabokov occupied time this semester. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

literature course in my quest for a Master’s degree. Lots of reading — 10 novels this semester with the focus on works by Vladimir Nabokov.

By Day 14, halfway through the Challenge, I failed to do my daily “homework.” Yes, I did not complete the Challenge on time. But, I did revisit all the messages, found time to analyze the content and want to share the following thoughts and observations.

First, some parameters.

  1. The site I employed for the Challenge is this one — The PRDude blog. It’s not really a website, but a forum for my thoughts on public relations and other stuff.
  2. Consequently, some of the homework tasks were not applicable, although I did learn something valuable and may incorporate newfound knowledge in the future.

Now, as promised, three takeaways.

Strategy Drives Everything. Challenge content and tasks drove home the message that effective, modern public relations starts with a sound strategy. Wholeheartedly concur.

Tactics Within Reach. The homework from Day 9 inspired potential tactics that could help build the PESO plan. Yes, I can reach objectives of building more awareness and visits to The PRDude through simple tactics like visiting leading PR blogs more often to gain insight on the industry.

Grow That Content Hub. With 333 posts published since September 4, 2009, The PRDude is a repository of content related to public relations, politics, Chicago, popular culture and more. Perhaps I could strengthen the blog by adding categories.

Other lessons from the Challenge — analyzing the site’s domain authority through Moz and launching an email drip campaign — were fascinating and informative; but I think these lessons will have to wait until I complete my paper on Nabokov in May.

One more thing: If you read this, please don’t share with my friend — the one, the only Gini Dietrich.  Don’t want her mad at me.