Author: Thanzyl Thajudeen

(The writer is a senior communications and PR expert. He is a Member of CIPR, a Member of the PRCA Asia Pacific Regional Board and a Council Member of PRCA, the world’s largest PR professional body)

Well, now that the question has caught your attention, I must stress that though it’s a long way to go – it’s certainly possible – and I believe that PR and communications professionals have a moral obligation and a crucial role to play in this regard. Why I say that it is a moral obligation is because we have in some way or rather advised or contributed to brands or businesses that have polluted the world, whether its to the environment or to the individual minds, and all this just for the sake of shareholders’ returns. We have taken a big role in our ego and pride, turning ourselves into spin doctors in the praise of others, spreading across destructive or confusing messages, rather than being authentic and genuine communications professionals.

Just like marketers, instead of still glorifying and self-praising our award-winning ideas and campaigns, we need to take a step back and deeply ponder to embrace the fact that we too are accountable either directly or indirectly for the industrial sweatshops, irresponsible consumerism, climate change, filtered knowledge, digital addictions, and now the ‘self’ centric ideology that is haphazardly taking us way behind civilization. In the midst of all these, let’s look at it in a positive light and in small steps, make amends, advocate, and build that foundation for generations to come.

Just like every society or generation before us, we have a responsibility to safeguard and pass on the values, beliefs, and wisdom that makes us humans. And it’s great to see that many agencies indulge themselves with clients and mandates that work towards for a better tomorrow, from shifting perceptions to reinstating societal norms and values, it certainly gives the heart a reassurance.

Today, we have the climate change or global warming challenge and ironically it still feels like we have never learnt our lessons. Some of, or majority of the public, claim that the so-called big corporations are just greenwashing and deceiving in the name of sustainability. Being the key counsel for them, the PR profession can really make a big difference. Rather than continuing with our old habits centered around attention-seeking, let’s advocate, educate, and create impactful and meaningful conversations, dialogues, actions, and learning.

PR has a crucial role to play in shaping and framing the various debates and intentions on numerous contemporary and emerging issues and solutions. We can advise brands and clients on how to humbly and genuinely work towards carbon neutrality and combating climate change, reinstate and foster basic humane values among societies, address the generational gaps, fight misinformation and disinformation, protect and promote rights of all individuals including marginalized groups, hold corporations and government accountable for their pledges and actions, do away with those that spur irresponsible consumerism, upskill and reskill future generations that are adaptable, inclusive, and focused on both intellectual and spiritual education, dematerialize today’s highly materialized world, encourage knowledge and wisdom seekers, breakaway from false ideologies and agendas, bring about peaceful coexistence and harmony, increase diversity and equity, promote a healthy circulation of wealth, ambition and happiness, encouraging more social entrepreneurs, help reduce digital footprint, counter cyber bullying and regulating such behaviors, and the list just keeps going on and on.

How we define and carry on with these issues and solutions matters, not just for the sake of it, but through the inner-realization and actualization of our intentions. We need to set the message straight and take that journey – the path will appear by itself. We can always do our part even in our personal settings, by being conscious and mindful and acting along those lines. And all these could be done behind the shadows, not requiring the spotlight or the praise that we always do.

Being communicators no matter whether you are a freelancer, a in-house professional or an agency executive and no matter whether you are in the public, private, development sector, we are given probably one of the greatest tasks and responsibilities when it comes to help spread and drive the right messaging, the right values, the right beliefs. Every entity and individual today are concerned about the drastic and alarming changes that are happening in the society and environment, and we can really help steer definitions, ideas, perceptions, and actions in the right direction.