World Public Relations Forum 2012: Day 2

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Off the back of a hugely successful first day at the World PR Forum (WPRF), Day 2 did not disappoint! Not only did the insightful presentations continue, but the morning saw the #WPRF Twitter hashtag hit the number one trending topic in Australia, and the exciting announcement that the 2014 World PR Forum will be held in Madrid, Spain, followed by Kenya in 2015.

First on the agenda after the welcome address was the keynote presentation via Skype by Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman (Richard was to attend the conference but was unable to travel due to personal circumstances). Richard’s presentation was self-branded as ‘provocative’, discussing ideas and notions such as the ‘flip of the influencer pyramid’ i.e. the idea that communication is increasingly horizontal and peer-to-peer as opposed to top down. He also discussed the drastically changing media landscape and the perception / trustworthiness of PR as a profession – discussing the question, is the term PR toxic?

Continuing  the Forum’s theme of ‘Communication Without Borders’, a plenary discussion followed titled ‘The Future of PR in a Borderless World’ involving Paul Druckman, International Integrated Reporting Council, Anne Gregory, Leeds Metropolitan University, Paul Holmes, The Holmes Report and Daniel Tisch, the Global Alliance for PR and Communications Management. Each speaker shed a different perspective on the topic, and interestingly, like Richard Edelman, the speakers also discussed the idea that top down message control is no longer the name of the game, rather influence is now based on dialogue.

After the plenary discussion, Jane Burns, Young and Well Research Cooperative, Allison Lee, IMPACT Communications Australia and Roger Marshall, Bite Communications, took to the stage to discuss ‘Communications and Connecting in Digital and Social Spaces’. Amongst other topics, the ever-evolving landscape of social media was discussed as well as the role and importance of bloggers and best practice for engagement. Allison Lee also raised the question, in the era of the blogger – should all PR practitioners be bloggers also?

After a jam-packed morning, the early afternoon session was one the Cube duo were particularly looking forward to – ‘Social Media for Social Change’ with Paull Young, Charity Water and Michael Sheldrick, Global Poverty Project. Both speakers were truly inspiring (even having a few of us shedding a tear at one point) and emphasised the role social media plays globally in engaging an audience and beginning a two-way dialogue that can provoke action and behavioural change. What’s the key to encouraging audience engagement / participation? According to Paull Young – inspiration and providing a platform where people can create and share their own story and experiences.

A quick 30 minutes was spent attending a ‘Lightening Talk’ session – ‘Content Obesity: an Organisation’s Silent Killer’ was presented by Sally Bagshaw (key message – lose the junk and produce lean, high quality content), while Warren Kirby spoke about the importance of truth and trust in communications.

To bring the day and Forum to a close, there was a final discussion and presentation of the revised Melbourne Mandate where amends to the document were shared based on the feedback received by the Forum attendees. With the incorporated feedback the Mandate received the stamp of approval from attendees and formal endorsement of the Forum. A final ‘Insights and Foresight’ session was then held by Daniel Tisch and Nick Turner, Public Relations Institute of Australia, which summarised what was a successful and informative two-day, international event.

We will be posting a couple more blogs regarding the Forum in the coming weeks – looking at key topics in more depth, so keep an eye out and be sure to follow us at @CubeBytes for all the Cube news!

 

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World Public Relations Forum 2012: Day 1

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Melbourne is currently playing host to the biggest contingent of PR professionals ever to descend on Australian soil at the World PR Forum, and a couple of ‘Cubans’ – Niki Hennessy and Jade McCudden – have joined the more than 800 delegates from 21 countries to talk about all things PR and communication! Here’s the duo’s overview of the highlights from Day 1.

The Forum is being facilitated by the ABC’s Virginia Trioli – who is doing a great job of keeping enthusiastic communicators in-line and on schedule, and apparently enjoying getting a look behind the scenes of ‘the dark side’!

After the welcome address from Nick Turner, PRIA, Robina Xavier, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Dan Tisch, Global Alliance for PR and Communications Management, we were treated to a keynote presentation from Wadah Khanfer, who is described as one of the world’s few gentlemen in broadcast TV. Khanfer is President of the Sharq Forum and former Director General of Al-Jazeera.

The presentation was a huge highlight, providing insight into the changing face of broadcast journalism, the emergence of the ‘two speed newsroom’ and the impact of social media in empowering the populace as agents of social change.

Khanfer’s presentation then moved onto a panel discussion that further explored communication without borders (or communication across borders) with Wadah Khanfer, Andrew Beswick from Amnesty International, Jehan Bseiso from Medecins Sans Frontieres and Archie Law from Action Aid Australia.

After morning tea the Cube team attended the Marketing and Brand session with Marne Fechner, Netball Australia, Brian Finn, Ideas Shop and Peter Young, Cricket Australia. The session focused on transforming and revitalising your brand by re-engaging with traditional fans/brand advocates and reaching new ones. According to Brian Finn, for Rugby New Zealand’s 2011 World Cup bid, this meant strong themes, taking an inclusive approach, engaging its stakeholders, demonstrating ways for people to get involved and actively managing risk. Moving forward it apparently involves Taylor Swift.


As part of the 2012 Forum the Global Alliance is producing the Melbourne mandate, a ‘dialogue on how communication is changing our world, our organisations and our profession – and how communication must change as a consequence’. During the first afternoon session we participated in a working session to discuss and critique the draft mandate. We’ll share more about the mandate at a later date, so stay tuned!

The afternoon also saw Professor Mark Pearson from Bond University and Claire O’Rourke from Essential Media discuss some of the legal and ethical issues presented by social media. As Prof. Pearson summed it up, ‘this is the new media literacy’, and something every communications professional should be aware of, so we’ll have more on this later as well.

After a day of inspiring and informative sessions it was time to glam it up as we headed to the MCG for the 2012 PRIA Golden Target Awards and the World PR Forum Gala Dinner.

Highlights of the night included Prof. Jim MacNamara from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) – where quit a few Cubans graduated from – being awarded the Educator of the Year Award, and the retro photo booth at the gala dinner.

Niki and Jade having fun playing dress-ups at the World PR Forum Gala dinner.

Congratulations to all of last night’s winners at the Golden Target Awards! Stay tuned for more on Day 2 of the Forum. You can also stay up-to-date on all the action as it happens by following us on @CubeBytes.

 

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