Today we held the MIPAA AGM at Prodrive – and in recognition of the 40th anniversary since public relations practitioners in the motor industry first established a professional association, the Guild of Motoring Writers presented us with an engraved gavel.
The Guild was formed itself in 1944 and was influential in encouraging its PR contacts to come together in a similar way, albeit 24 years later.
Not only did the Guild chairman, Chris Wright, make the presentation, but he attended the full AGM. This demonstrates real transparency when PRs are prepared to discuss their challenges and issues in front of “the other side”.
In reality, PRs and journalists aren’t two sides, but share common objectives and interests. This is particularly so in the UK motor industry where there is generally strong respect for the service offered by PR practitioners. Of course, there are differences of opinion and sometimes unrealistic expectations on both sides, but as today’s meeting showed, these can best be addressed by open dialogue.
There was a lively debate at the meeting – primarily around members’ expectations of the purpose of MIPAA. At present, this is to “help communicators within the motor industry work more effectively by providing training, workshops, events and opportunities for networking.”
To this end, MIPAA has developed a solid range of member offerings – but driving home from the meeting, it occurred to me that this statement is a Mission, ie what we do – but doesn’t provide any Vision or reflection on why we do it.
Some members wondered if MIPAA should seek to represent their interests further or take action in respect of particular issues. But what issues and how would these be addressed?
Is the aim of helping PR practitioners “work more effectively” too bland or mundane? Do we need to identify core values that can be defended? Is that what members want from such organisations?
Do people want their needs for practical assistance (training, networking, advice, career opportunities, etc) to be met – or is there some higher purpose they are seeking through membership? Is that a level of professionalism, recognition, status – or some shared bond in identifying with certain principles?