Base research results indicate way forward for Accords implementation in Italy

685 representatives of the Italian business (331), professional (254), media (32), and educational communities (68) have sofar replied to the survey monkey questions that the Ferpi Stockholm Accords group posted online in late November, with the intent of developing a 2011-2012 public relations program for public relations.
Please see here .

Let us now look at the more interesting results (here, they are not clustered by stakeholder group):
from 1 to 10 public relations is more valuable for:
°stakeholder relationships (8), reputation (8), storytelling (8)
°employee relationships (7.6)
°sustainability (7), management decisions (7)

68% of respondents agree that pr is today more important than in the recent past, 30% say that pr is as important as before, while 2% affirm that pr is less important.
Growth of importance of the public relations function compared to that of other management functions:
°finance (44% more important, 46% as important, 10% less important)
°human resources (53% more important, 44% as important, 3% less important)
°marketing (57% more important, 35% as important, 8% less important)
Growth of importance of the public relations profession compared to other professions:
°accounting (36% more important, 46 as important, 8% less important)
°legal (38% more important, 52% as important, 8% less important)
°journalism (50% more important, 43% as important, 7% less important)
Respondents who were aware of Ferpi before compiling this questionnaire:
yes 59%
no 41%
From 1 to 10, credibility attributed to Ferpi when arguing:
external communication (7.8)
internal communication (7) and alignment between internal and external (7)
governance (6.5) and management (6.5)

Early implications:
the universe of respondents is certainly not representative of the four stakeholder groups for many obvious reasons, and therefore indications are valid only inasmuch as the same questions will be posed at the conclusion of the program to measure differences, and it will be better if half of the sample remains the same, and half is new, in order also to measure the effect of this first survey). The survey will remain open for at least a couple of months.
a- The surprise of the results to the first question is the relatively low gap between pr’s traditional areas of value creation (external, internal, alignment) and those affirmed by the accords (sustainablity, governance, management). One remark is that had we included media relations, event organizations or lobbying amongst the options these would have have possibly received higher rate of agreement.

It would seem that the way forward is to argue how the specific competencies of operational pr (that however need to be reinforced..) bring value to the organization’s sustainability, governance and management.

The implication here could be that the link between an operational and a more strategic understanding of our profession by our stakeholders resides mostly on the listening-to, interpreting and dialoguing-with stakeholders function that has hardly been developed…. both from a practice and from a body of knowledge perspective. Food for thought and immediate action…


b- What emerges from answers to questions 2,3 and 4 is a hint that the growth of importance of the internal pr function is more perceived than that of the pr profession.


This clearly begs for a deeper insight, but if confirmed, the implications are considerable: 1) a possible widening gap between internal competencies and external consultancies and services in the perception of the profession’s stakeholders; 2) a possible improvement of the managerial role recognition to the pr function. Two interpretations that should/could have wide and immediate consequences on a public relations program for public relations.

c-The answers to question 5 are alarming and only reiterate that professional associations are exceedingly involved in navel and autistic gazing exercises (including this one…?).

d-Finally, the answers to the last question (6) are (fortunately) directly correlated with those of the first question and suggest that the Ferpi prXpr program should capitalize on the higher levels of credibility in order to advocate the arguments related to the areas of lower credibility.

A temporary conclusion would indicate that the strategy for the program should be to use the external, internal and alignment practices to increase our credibility in bringing value to sustainability, governance and management by arguing our crucial role in listening-to, interpreting and dialoguing-with stakeholders.

The full program of activites with the four stakeholder groups is currenly being prepared by the working groups also on the basis of the specific replies, cluster by cluster. By end January we will establish specific objectives to be reached by 2012 (fro example: pr’s relevance in employees relations to increase from 7.5 to 8.5…) and the program takes off.

I wonder if this summary can be of use to others around the world who are involved in the implementation of the accords program…

About Toni Muzi


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