'Brexit an opportunity for public relations leadership' - CIPR report


A new research report published today by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) suggests PR professionals are ideally positioned to lead UK businesses through the uncertainties of Brexit.

Reflecting the views of more than 250 senior professionals, Brexit and Public Relations in 2018  (PDF) evidences the extent to which PR professionals - as well as their organisations and clients - are prepared for Brexit.

The research shows that more than three quarters of PR professionals (76%) believe Brexit is an opportunity for public relations to demonstrate leadership, with a further 60% agreeing that better engagement through public relations would improve their organisation’s Brexit preparations.

The results project the belief that strategic public relations - grounded in its ability to cultivate relationships and mutual understanding - can deliver clarity for businesses facing the complexities of Brexit.

Other key findings include:

  • More than quarter (28%) of agency professionals and in-house practitioners are offering Brexit briefings to clients
  • Less than a third of PR professionals (27%) have commissioned or conducted research into the impact of Brexit.
  • Respondents shared mixed views on their organisation's preparedness for Brexit - 38% disagreed that their organisation was ready for Brexit, while 35% agreed
  • Fewer than one in ten (8%) respondents were happy with the government's approach to Brexit
  • Almost a third (30%) of practitioners said their organisation was lobbying to change the Government's approach to Brexit.
Dr Jon White Chart.PR, FCIPR
The UK is currently being asked to set out its expectations for the next stage of negotiations on Brexit, dealing with trade and the country's future relationship with EU.  We - business and other organisations, and the practice - need to prepare for possible outcomes from these discussions, and the survey results reported today show that there's a willingness and capability in the public relations community to help clients and employing organisations with these preparations.
Dr Jon White Chart.PR, FCIPR
Jason MacKenzie FCIPR Found.Chart.PR, CIPR President
It's hugely encouraging to see so many PR professionals assert their belief that Brexit offers PR an opportunity to demonstrate leadership. Our ability to steer clients and organisations through uncertainty will prove invaluable in 2018 and beyond.

This report also sets out how the CIPR will support members with their preparations for Brexit. We will host Brexit scenario planning events for members across the UK in 2018 to ensure PR professionals are equipped to help clients and organisations navigate the challenges ahead. I'd like to thank Dr Jon White for leading these events and for delivering this vital research.
Jason MacKenzie FCIPR Found.Chart.PR, CIPR President

Four ways to prepare for Brexit now

  1. Once you have identified what Brexit means for your employer or client – analyse how they can mitigate the risk or exploit the opportunities. Focus your thinking on the contribution that you, as a PR professional, can make.
  2. Make Brexit part of your personal development plan for 2018 – upgrade your skills and increase your knowledge. Talk to other professionals – if you work alongside HR, finance or legal professionals, what information can they share about the impact of Brexit that will enhance your understanding?
  3. Develop your self-awareness. How resilient are you as a PR practitioner? How effective are you when operating in a volatile and uncertain environment? What can you do to build your confidence?
  4. Reflect on your links to the leadership in any organisation you work for or with. Can you command their attention? Will they value your judgement on this subject? How can you get them to take your advice into consideration along with other professions represented at the boardroom table?

Notes to editors

About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)
Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.

The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).