In the ever-evolving world of public relations, the challenges and opportunities of technology, structural management, and global trends demand adaptability and foresight. With the Public Relations Global Network (PRGN), one of the world’s largest international networks of 56 public relations and communications agencies, the role of a president is to steer the organization toward a future-ready direction. This Q&A with former President David Fuscus provides an insightful dive into the leadership’s vision, goals, and strategies to navigate the challenges of modern PR.
Q: What were your main goals upon assuming the role of president?
A: My goals weren’t rooted in unveiling flashy, new programs. After spending fifteen years in PRGN, with nine on the executive committee, it became evident that as the network expanded, our original structure wasn’t sufficient for PRGN in 2023.
I primarily addressed structural changes to better serve our members. For instance, the original bylaws had turned into a haphazard collection of rules and procedures. The bylaws should lay out key policies and structures, not dictate day-to-day management. An extensive analysis led to a comprehensive rewrite of these laws, delegating day-to-day operations to the executive committee.
Additionally, I streamlined the organization’s finances. Instead of sporadic dues hikes, we now adjust them annually in line with inflation.
“It’s a reflection of our commitment to professional management,”
For an international organization comprising 56 members, having robust management systems is paramount. I’m proud to have collaborated with the executive committee to ensure PRGN’s growth.
Q: What do you believe are the most pressing issues or trends currently shaping global public relations, and how is PRGN addressing them?
A: The answer is technology. Few sectors have been as disrupted by technology as the PR industry. It’s not just the tools but the transformation of how the public interacts with information. It used to be that PR’s primary focus was journalists, but the rise of social media and direct audience targeting has diversified the industry. Modern campaigns mix earned media, social media, direct audience targeting, and advertising. And advertising has evolved from a ‘wholesale’ approach to a more precise, cost-effective strategy, thanks to refined audience targeting.
In late 2022, ChatGPT made a significant mark on the public’s awareness, indicating a potential shift in how the PR industry operates. I view this evolution positively, seeing generative AI as an invaluable tool poised to enhance agency efficiency and effectiveness. However, many fear AI might displace human roles. While I understand these concerns, I firmly stand by the belief that PR practitioners who leverage AI will surpass those who don’t.
Talking to agencies all around the world, no one was sure how to integrate it into their agency/business systems in a way that could be productive and managed by leadership. Because of that need is why we created Precis. Precis is a company that is building industry specific AIs that are finetuned with tools for that industry, trained in issues, and designed to be a research and writing assistant in a way that can be managed. Most importantly, we built in security systems so it can be safely integrated into businesses.
After an intense 10-month development phase, I’m excited to share that Precis is on the cusp of beta testing.
Q: Any Advice for Aspiring PR Professionals
A: Stay adaptable, keep learning, and embrace the tools and technologies that can enhance your work. Whether it’s AI or the next big thing, being open to change is the key to making a lasting impact.