NI business leaders praise the power of PR

Senior business figures in Northern Ireland hailed the strategic power of public relations, in the latest series of interviews conducted by the CIPR's Foresight Panel last week.

Six leading professionals from a range of sectors including retail, hospitality and manufacturing revealed their experience of working with PR professionals, along with their opinions on PR as a strategic management function.

Ben Collins, Regional Director Northern Ireland, International Standards Programme Manager UK, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said "PR value can’t be explained by pointing to a spreadsheet; it’s multi-faceted. PR professionals understand complex information and can translate that to a wide range of audiences...I see PR as a strategic management tool – far too often organisations see it as a secondary function."

Northern Ireland Retail Consortium's Director Aodhan Connolly similarly identified the need for organisations to involve PR professionals in the heart of their activity.

"All activities should be seen through the prism of communications professionals who will assess how these activities will strengthen or weaken the brand. Any good board will look through that prism

Other leaders reflected on public relations' business performance compared with other disciplines including, marketing and advertising.

"PR is a much more valuable strategic tool than advertising and marketing" said Stephen Kelly, CEO of Manufacturing NI. "It’s easier to justify a PR spend than advertising because it offers the most value for money”.

Siobhan O’Sullivan, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Fitzwilliam Hotel said  “Our PR agency initially undertook a perception overview of the Fitzwilliam in Belfast to show us where we were and were we needed to be. They manage our communication plan each month and we can clearly see the value in what they deliver"

The Panel will conduct further interviews with service users in Edinburgh on 16 February, ahead of the publication of the full research findings in May this year. For further information on the Foresight Panel, visit the website or contact Catherine Wanjiku.

Notes to editors

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).