What do Barcelona, Melbourne and Stockholm mean to PRs?

Thinking about...

Yesterday on a London trip, I met up with Bruno Amaral and Kelly Pereira. I’ve known Lisbon-based Bruno for some years so it was great to catch up with him on his London visit.

Over a coffee and some great conversation, the names of three cities came into our discussion: Barcelona, Melbourne and Stockholm. Cities well known to almost anyone, who could readily tell you in which countries they’re located. (For the geographically challenged – yes, there are some – they’re in Spain, Australia and Sweden respectively.)

Those three cities’ names are the places where decisions were made during meetings of public relations professionals that could (and should) have far- and wide-reaching effects on the profession and the practice of public relations.

Here are very concise descriptions (along with links to get detailed information):

  • Barcelona Declaration of Measurement Principles – the public relations industry’s first proposed global standards for measuring public relations.
  • The Melbourne Mandate – a call to action for new areas of value in public relations and communication management.
  • Stockholm Accords – a set of principles on the role of public relations in organizational governance and management, and communication programs for internal and external publics, and on the value of public relations in increasing the organization’s sustainability.

These are important areas for the profession. I know about the Barcelona Principles mainly because people I pay attention to talk about them, notably Katie Paine and Philip Sheldrake. And there’s a wealth of information online if you search for it.

The others? Not much. Is that due to my own ignorance and lack of investigation? Or lack of readily-available information there for the discovery? Or something else?

It seems to me that opportunities are being missed here. Opportunities for educating and helping colleagues understand what these three sets of ideals mean and why they should give a damn.

An impromptu discussion on Twitter last night, in response to my tweet, drew some clear views.

Edelman’s Dave Fleet says “Barcelona Principles in particular are critical. I’ve quoted pieces from that in presentations.”

My podcasting partner Shel Holtz added “Problem is, 99% of those working in PR have never heard of Barcelona Principles. What’s the solution to this problem?”

Canadian PR pro Barry Waite said “We’re teaching Barcelona Principles in Measurement & Metrics – looking at how to embed Melbourne in PR Intro.”

Edelman’s Rob Clark stated “Solution is that organizations involved need to disseminate information with same rigor we’d use for clients,” adding “Draft of Melbourne starts, “The 160k professionals represented…” how many of 160k actually are aware?”

At least Edelman are right on the ball with this (and I’m sure other PR firms are, too).

It’s a clear call to action. Who else will take the initiative?