Looking for a Public Relations Agency? Use our Free matching service to find the right agency for you.

User login

PRCA 50: Let‘s focus on the REAL social impact of our work

 This is part of a series of blog posts celebrating our 50th anniversary, all of which address the question: What does the future of the PR and communications industry look like?

The PRCA at 50 should provide a wake-up call to the industry to focus on what really matters, the real impact of our work.

Rather than reflect on the past or focus on immediate threats, we need to look to the future.

And the generation of the future, the Millennials, will shape our approach. The Deloitte Millennial Study found a lack of trust in any for profit organisations. Other studies have shown how consumers are putting product quality and ethics on an equal footing.

People care about the social impact of their employers and the brands they buy from. Procurement increasingly asks for social value to be demonstrated across public and private sector supply chains.

Other professions are speaking the language of social value.

And now the PR & communications industry is joining in.

Over 50 PR professionals responded to the PRCA’s call for evidence about the social impact of their work and the results show a positive picture for the industry.

This first ever analysis of the social impact of public relations agencies has revealed that 80% of practitioners have helped meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their work.

Of the 17 UN SDGs, four stood out as the most popular: achieving gender equality, ensuring healthy lives, promoting sustainable economic growth and building resilient communities.

In addition to helping to meet the UN SDGs, the definition highlights further ways PR & Communications can have a positive social impact.

Three-quarters of respondents have encouraged workplace diversity through positive employment practices, two-thirds had encouraged philanthropy and giving with similar numbers involved in genuine corporate social responsibility programmes.

However, just 17% had used a social enterprise in their supply chain, showing there is work to do.

Celebrating this social impact should become the norm, yet relatively few organisations do this.

At Campaign Collective, we measure social impact in two ways – the positive impact of our marketing work on society and what we can achieve through investment in our social purpose fund which has resulted in activity like the launch of The Rooftop, a new home for news worth shouting about.

It’s time for more organisations to do likewise and report on their social value.

The PRCA has now turned its definition of social value into a quick test so practitioners can get a “social impact score” for their work. You can take the test here:

And to kick things off, we’re proud to say that Campaign Collective got a four star social impact score of (76.7%). A good start, but work to do if we’re going to hit the magic five stars.