The Phoenix and Associations: Communication and Public Relations

By Bobby Peralta posted 06-09-2022 12:05


Like the legendary phoenix, associations have begun to gradually rise from the ashes of the pandemic—from holding purely remote and virtual communication that kept the members at bay, to cautiously holding blended and in-person events. The question to ask in the context of communication is, “What communication approaches do associations need at this time?”

This was the synopsis of a recent webinar developed and conducted by speaker Ritzi Villarico Ronquillo, fellow of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), for the Philippines Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE).

The phoenix is an immortal bird associated with Greek mythology known to cyclically regenerate or is otherwise born again. This rebirth made the phoenix a symbol of good virtues and each part of the bird symbolizes different attributes: the body for kindness, the wings for prosperity and the head for reliability.

In like manner, associations are purveyors of virtues and sources of positive change. Among others, they provide diversity and reach, open horizons for growth, shape and influence policies, recognize exceptional works and prepare their members for change. In a way, they are enablers of communication and public relations.

“Communication enables and achieves common understanding so different disciplines can work together in excellence for a desired purpose,” Ritzi said. It is a process by which people and organizations connect with and among each other.

Public relations (PR), on the other hand, is a management function that builds harmonious and lasting relationships based on trust and truth and creates public acceptance and understanding of the advocacies of an association. PR also makes sense of disorder, as well as finds focus, meaning and solutions in the midst of issues and crisis.

So how can associations tap into communication and PR to move forward? Ritzi offers these ten tips:

  1. Communication has always been and will always be upon us in terms of introspection, verbal/spoken word, non-verbal, visual, written, audio, digital, online, mobile, etc.
  2. People are social beings; communication is the nature of humans.
  3. PR is earned, nurtured and sustained. It builds and sustains positive relationships based on trust and truth so that messages are credible and the association is respected, accepted and understood.
  4. Communication in associations consists of the internal and the external. Strengthen your internal backbone and ensure your external linkages align with your core (purpose and mission).
  5. Build on solid rock: your core. Have consistent and clear key messages. Walk your talk especially in times of duress.
  6. Communication and leadership are inseparable.
  7. Three pillars of association leadership: governance, relevance and viability.
  8. Prepare to manage issues and crises.
  9. Communication: why, for whom, to achieve what, with what focus, how and with what channels, track progress and improve continually.
  10. Amidst all the technology, people will remain ascendant.

One last tip: Whether it’s communication and/or PR: it’s got to make sense; it’s got to fit; it’s got to be sustainable; and, it’s got to deliver results.

This article was published by the Business Mirror on September 2, 2022 and may not be reproduced without prior consent from the writer and Business Mirror.