05.27.2011 | Colleen Moffitt
Are you surprised to learn that, only 16 percent of MBA programs “offer a single course in crisis and conflict management, strategic communications, public relations” or reputation management? This week an op-ed in Bloomberg BusinessWeek made the case for change.
If you haven’t read the article, “Master’s of Spin: PR Belongs in B-School Studies,” I recommend you do. Author Anthony D’Angelo articulates how integrated strategic communications is with effective leadership and how reputation influences company performance, “product pricing, stock price, revenue stability and customer loyalty.”
Many company managers and executives find themselves in charge of PR and are expected to know what to do without any real coaching or education. After recognizing most executives are promoted to leadership roles where they were overseeing communication, but did not understand how to approach PR in a strategic manner, my business partner and I wrote the book Strategic Public Relations: 10 Principles to Harness the Power of PR. Strategic Public Relations provides company leaders (and PR practitioners) with a high-level road map on how to utilize PR effectively to advance their organizations’ most important business objectives.
Today’s business leaders need to understand the connection between PR and organizational success. A seismic shift in the marketing landscape over the past several years has pushed public relations to a new level of importance. Reaching customers is a lot more complicated than it used to be when everyone was watching TV or reading their regional daily newspaper. The marketing landscape is increasingly crowded and consumers are exposed to more information making it difficult to establish strong awareness. And with the explosion of social media and user generated content, it is possible for information about a company to spread rapidly, making companies and their reputations increasingly susceptible. Additionally, consumers are quick to spot what they perceive as spin. No longer can companies take a tactical approach to public relations.
Integrating courses on public relations, strategic communication and/or crisis communication into MBA programs is a smart move that will enable future company executives to utilize communications strategically to accomplish the company’s core business objectives.