I wrote last week about the Public Relations Society of America. Bill Sledzik in his ToughSledding blog started the discussion about a news release concerning Jeff Julin, the newly named chair of that organization. Others like Jack O’Dwyer and Les Potter then joined in a conversation about PRSA in general.
On Monday I sent an e-mail to Joseph DeRupo, PRSA’s associate director of public relations and the media contact for the announcement. I asked some general questions that would be pretty typical of any evaluation process.
I didn’t really expect to get a reply. And as of today, I haven’t been disappointed. After all, if PRSA refuses, as it often does, to talk to Jack O’Dwyer, who has a national audience, the organization isn’t going to reply to me.
Or should Mr. DeRupo or someone from PRSA reply?
Let’s see. I’ve been a member of PRSA for about 20 years. I’m an Accredited member. I teach public relations at Kent State University. And I wanted to share the information provided by PRSA to readers of this blog and to students in the classroom.
OK. PRSA isn’t going to respond to me because I’m writing a blog. I seriously doubt that most organizations these days take the time to respond to bloggers, unless it’s a high-visibility forum with a large following. Clearly that isn’t the case here. Over time organizations will have to rethink that strategy. But it isn’t going to happen today.
But then there is the bigger issue: developing and maintaining relationships. I don’t warrant any special treatment from PRSA because I’ve been a member for 20 years. Every member should be treated the same – with respect, care and with some understanding that relationships really do matter.
When I was at BFGoodrich – a much larger organization than PRSA – someone would have responded to any shareholder, employee, customer or member of the community who asked a question or raised a concern. And that wasn’t just the responsibility of the public relations staff. Organizations, particularly large corporations, apply some fancy titles to that: customer relations, shareholder/investor relations, employee relations, community relations, etc.
But looking at it from the standpoint of public relations – how about doing it just because it is the right thing to do?
I was going to keep mentioning in this blog how many days it has been without a reply from PRSA. But as I was running this morning I concluded that doing that would be a colossal waste of everyone’s time. Organizations either get it – or they don’t.