The PRCA has launched a global campaign urging organisations to hire PRCA members when looking for public relations support. As part of our #HireaPRCAmember campaign, we’re celebrating consultancies that have continuously held CMS for more than 15, 10 and 5 years. We sat down with Lansons CEO Tony Langham FPRCA to chat about the importance of ethical practice and holding CMS accreditation for the last 18 years.
What does ethical PR practice mean to you?
I’m very clear that the most crucial aspect of ethics is transparency about who you work for. When you’re speaking to senior people in government and politics or regulators and media, for example, you have to be absolutely clear about who you are working for - if you don’t reveal that, I believe that’s fundamentally wrong.
I think the question of ethics is becoming more important to clients. We are increasingly asked questions about who we work for and what our policy is on working in particular sectors - that’s becoming part of the procurement process.
You have held CMS accreditation for 18 years - why is it important to Lansons?
We have always felt that we know we’re a well-run business, but being tested on that, and getting that affirmation, is really important.
Opening our business up to external challenges and questioning also prompts us to think about what we could do better - obviously we think about those things, but when we’re being assessed externally, it means you think even harder. For example, we knew we could do better around diversity, and then when it was introduced into the CMS it helped provide further impetus.
Why is having those structures and professional standards key to success?
We’ve been going for more than 30 years, and we’ve got some very long-standing clients. While some of those are serviced by long-standing employees, there’s obviously always some staff turnover on both client and agency side, so providing continuity in the form of the right processes means those accounts endure. We always say that people buy people, and that’s true, but they also need to have reassurance that behind those people, there are the right structures to help them do their job.
What advice would you have to other PRCA members considering going through the process?
The best businesses and the best people have to look externally as well as internally for inspiration. As a CEO, I know that it’s important that I’m seen to have a strong belief in the direction the firm is taking, but I also have to question myself and open up to external input and a critical eye - which the CMS process provides.
Find out more about the #HireaPRCAmember campaign here.