In the aftermath of the recent United Airlines fiasco, companies should take a very close look at where their Public Relations directors are reporting. United’s Public Relations Director reports to its head of human resources and labor relations. This is a mistake and may explain why United seems so inept at dealing with the problems they have encountered.
In today’s world, where social media can affect your bottom line in an instant, Public Relations needs to be elevated to the C-Suite. The best place for a Director of Public Relations to report is to the CEO.
Traditional management models have placed the most impactful divisions of a company as direct reports to the CEO. Since Human Resources, Sales and Marketing, Accounting and Finance, and Operations each significantly impact the bottom line, these traditionally have reported directly to the CEO.
Public Relations, for the most part, ended up as an extension of Sales and Marketing, as companies saw Public Relations as a means to get “free press”, or market exposure.
In today’s world, nothing can impact a company’s bottom line faster than social media. And the impacts can be, as in United’s case, immense. In light of this, companies would be well served to move their Public Relations to the C-Suite, reporting directly to the CEO.