Father of modern Public Relations highlights growth trends, but says recruiting ‘renaissance people’ critical to industry’s future
Dubai, UAE; March 14, 2012: Harold Burson, a pioneer of modern Public Relations and the Founder Chairman of Burson-Marsteller, told delegates today at the 20th Public Relations World Congress in Dubai that PR was no longer the “corporate step-child” it once was, and that the best years for the industry are yet to come. Burson attributed this positive industry trend to increasing awareness of the value of corporate reputation, especially among CEOs.
Presenting a keynote address on ‘Public Relations in Perspective’ at a special session, ‘An Hour with a Living Legend,’ Burson delivered a wide range of compelling insights gained from his 65 years of industry leadership.
Stressing the importance of recruiting to the industry what he called, “renaissance people,” Burson said that the best Public Relations practitioners are “able to deal at the top of the management pyramid, holding their own with the toughest, most-demanding and smartest CEOs.”
Burson, 91, also said that the ongoing decline of print media offered an opportunity for Public Relations firms to identify and hire talent from the world of journalism. But the industry veteran warned that practitioners must do more to assert themselves in boardrooms, and said that agencies should avoid putting too much store in how digital communications is reshaping the industry.
“Too many Public Relations professionals have failed to put digital in the proper context,” he warned. “It is not a new form of Public Relations; it is only the latest and most impactful in the continuum of mass information dissemination devices that started with Gutenberg’s printing press.”
Ending his address on a bullish note, Burson told Congress delegates: “The best is yet to come for Public Relations. Moving forward, demand will further raise the market value of our services.”
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and in partnership with the National Media Council of the UAE, the Public Relations World Congress is organised by the International Public Relations Association – Gulf Chapter (IPRA-GC) at the Grand Hyatt Dubai. The Congress concludes on March 15, 2012.
Saudi Aramco and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) are the headline Strategic Partners of the Congress; Dubai Chamber is the Diamond Sponsor. Emirates Airline is the Official Airline of the Congress; Qatar Petroleum comes on board as a Gold Sponsor; and CNN and Al Arabiya TV are the International Broadcast Partners. Dubai Media City is Industry Partner of the Congress. Bates PanGulf is the Design & Advertising Partner; ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller is the Marketing & PR Partner; and Media Watch is the Media Intelligence Partner.