Q& A with PRSA 2013 Chair and CEO Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA

Mickey NallThis interview excerpt originally ran in the January issue of PRSA’s Public Relations Tactics. Read the full interview.

What are the top challenges that PRSA faces in 2013?
Advocating for the profession remains a challenge.  We’ve made huge inroads with our advocacy program in the past four to five years.  The advocacy work that enhances the value of public relations is key in making sure we’re doing that in a way that excites members.

Diversity is also a huge issue facing PRSA, as well as the profession. We’re making progress, but why aren’t we more inclusive? While it’s still about growing a more diverse membership, it’s now about what are we doing once we’ve attracted the diverse professional — what are we doing to include them in all that we do in membership?

Overall, PRSA has to stay on the cutting edge.  The profession continues to expand, channels continue to expand and the expectations from the C-suite continue to expand. Our value depends on constantly answering this question to the affirmative:  “Are we meeting member needs?”

What are some of the significant issues facing the PR profession?
The first one, and I experience it every day in my work, is the integration of the marketing mix. We used to complain that the PR function didn’t have a seat at the table. We have a seat at the table.  We’re central.  And in most organizations, if you put it in the framework of reputation, then we’re core to what’s going on.

But at the same time, I feel that we’re explaining [the role of public relations] a lot to our marketing colleagues internally. Public relations and marketing continue to merge, and the monetary aspect of marketing and the core competencies continue to be an issue.  There are still challenges with good writing. Some people say, “Well, in the age of texting, does it matter?” Heck yeah, it matters.  You have to do it right.  You have to know what you’re attempting to communicate.

What is the outlook like for the soon-to-be PR graduates or those practitioners who have just entered the profession?
It’s a tough market out there, and only the best of the best get the jobs. I truly believe that we’ve got some great talent coming up. But at the same time, being great almost isn’t enough anymore.

At Ogilvy, I receive so many résumés for every position. I look at their résumés, and I’m seeing two and three internships.  That’s what I’m looking for to start — just to get the pile down to a manageable number to begin the selection process.

PRSA 2013 Chair and CEO Mickey G. Nall, APR, Fellow PRSA is the Atlanta-based managing director of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. He is a member of Ogilvy PR’s global management committee. He has served in The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as the on-site liaison between Ogilvy & Mather and the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, which was the nation’s largest social marketing campaign. Prior to Ogilvy, Nall was director of communications for the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. Before this, he was president of The Nall II Agency Inc., a Florida-based consulting firm. He has also been named as a distinguished alumnus of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism & Communications.

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