So many have been engaged in the work of developing the Authenic Enterprise that I am sure there’s probably been a time – particularly among the team that did so much of the heavy lifting – that one may wonder if the forest is clearly visible through all those trees! We all know the experience; investing so much of one’s experience, perspective and passion that sometimes a step back to listen to others react is just the right thing to do to maintain a healthy, objective attitude.

Therefore, it was in this spirit that Aedhmar Hynes of Text 100 Public Relations and I were delighted to be asked to deliver the Authentic Enterprise presentation at the recent PRCA Annual Conference in London. This is a major organization of agency communications professionals and the conference attendance was over 100 people representing all types of major consulting business specializing in utilities to government to the financial sector to consumer goods companies. We looked upon this as a good test to see if; 1) The Authentic Enterprise had meaning to a different culture of professionals and, 2) how would it play to an audience filled with those that are not CCO’s but rather trusted agency counselors to corporate communication leaders? The short answer is, it’s as relevant in the UK as it is in America, but we departed the conference with two questions that might be worthwhile considering as we continue to spread the word.

First, while we believe the direction of the work is clear and the path is right, this is still “new news” to some in our profession. This was voiced by some at the conference not as a criticism, but rather an understanding that in a number of companies today, communications may still be following the methods of the past and continue to be encouraged and rewarded by their management for this direction. How can the Authentic Enterprise better reach these professionals and how does it become more understandable, relevant and an accepted as a tool for change by these leaders?

Second, the agency world has its own unique challenge in adopting the principles of the Authentic Enterprise when their corporate partners do not. This was clear from some of the questions that asked more about the “how to” of spreading the knowledge to corporate clients, rather than about the work itself. Does this mean that when one’s hand is not directly on the lever of affecting action and change, there may be a value to helping agencies better influence corporations in this new direction?

Just a couple of thoughts from a very worthwhile experience and one that the head of the conference said generated comments throughout the day about the role that agencies can play in changing behavior among the corporations they represent.