PRCA appoints Barry Leggetter as International President

The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) has appointed Barry Leggetter FPRCA as its first International President, as part of its plans to build on its position as the world’s largest PR professional body, and to move into new regions of the world.

Leggetter has spent more than 25 years in international public relations consultancy during which he was UK CEO for three global firms (Porter Novelli, FleishmanHillard, and GolinHarris), and was also International Chairman of Bite.  He also held the role of CEO of AMEC, which he left after 11 years in December 2018. Leggetter was the winner of the 2018 PRCA Mark Mellor Award for Outstanding Contribution to the PR industry, and the AMEC Don Bartholomew Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Communications Measurement and Evaluation industry. He is a Fellow of the PRCA and the CIPR.

Leggetter will begin his role at the PRCA on 25th February, 2019. In the new role, he will focus on international membership development, and will work with Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, to grow existing PRCA regional offices in South East Asia and Middle East & North Africa; and to create new associations in other regions of the world. Leggetter will also focus on improving the commercial value of PRCA’s work, including its responsibility for delivering the ICCO Global Summit and the ICCO Global Awards.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Director General, PRCA, and Chief Executive, ICCO, said: “Barry Leggetter will be a fundamental part of the PRCA’s drive to build on our status as the world’s largest PR association, and to expand our offering to other parts of the world. He will transform us from an international organisation to a truly global one.

“Barry is a proven leader with a global perspective for driving engagement and real change and I am personally delighted he has joined us – the clearest possible sign of our intent to continue to grow globally.”

Barry Leggetter FPRCA, International President, PRCA, said: “I’m very excited to be a part of this new challenge to help grow the PRCA and ICCO’s already impressive global reach. The PR and communications industry is increasingly international in its outlook, so it’s only right that the PRCA should be working hard to position the UK at its heart. I am delighted to be joining Francis and the team.”

ENDS

 

For further information contact:

 

Francis Ingham MPRCA

Director General, PRCA,

francis.ingham@prca.org.uk

 

Barry Leggetter FPRCA

barryleggetter@outlook.com

07748 677 504

 

Matt Cartmell MPRCA

Deputy Director General

matt.cartmell@prca.org.uk

07930 485 333

 

About the PRCA

Who we are: Founded in 1969, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is a UK-based PR and communications membership body, operating in 66 countries around the world. We represent in excess of 30,000 people across the whole range of the PR and communications industry. The PRCA promotes all aspects of public relations and communications work, helping teams and individuals maximise the value they deliver to clients and organisations.

What we do: The Association exists to raise standards in PR and communications, providing members with industry data, facilitating the sharing of communications best practice and creating networking opportunities.

How we do it and make a difference: All PRCA members are bound by a professional charter and codes of conduct, and benefit from exceptional training. The Association also works for the greater benefit of the industry, sharing best practice and lobbying on the industry’s behalf e.g. fighting the NLA’s digital licence.

Don’t Cry Wolf join ICCO House of PR in Cannes

Don’t Cry Wolf have become the first ever start up agency to be a platinum sponsor of ICCO’s House of PR at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. They join WE Communications and FlieshmanHillard as the first three to confirm for the 2019 festival.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO said

“For the past five years, the ICCO House of PR has offered PR pros at Cannes a base to come together and exchange ideas on creativity. Previously, it’s only been global agencies that have been present here -so it’s fantastic to welcome the presence of our first-ever start up agency official sponsor. Don-t Cry Wolf -a true leader of the pack.”

John Brown, Founder and CEO, Don’t Cry Wolf has said

“It’s not just about the rosé!”

“We’ve got something to share about how creativity can, and should, be nurtured with social good in mind. Also, we want to discuss how a creative agency can be run with a net positive impact on the environment and society.

So, we’ll be curating a day at Cannes Lions where Don’t Cry Wolf and some of our B Corp buddies, both agency and brand side, will be taking the stage to talk about creating campaigns with an eye on improving society. We’ll also explore purpose washing and how organisations have to change their setup first before they start banging on about positive outcomes.”

ICCO will be rallying the industry once again at our Cannes Uncovered event on 30th January to preview changes to Cannes in 2019 and provide some expert advice for judges to ensure PR winners across the board in June. Details here.

The House of PR is the independent hub for PR professionals at Cannes Lions to meet, work, relax, learn, and have fun. Attracting the biggest names in PR throughout the week, it’s also a perfect cost-effective way to host your own events, workshops, seminars, drinks receptions, or showcase work and technology in the heart of the festival.
This year we have a space that is five times bigger, allowing for larger events, displays, and workshops. ICCO is an official sponsor of Cannes Lions giving the House of PR sponsors exposure, credibility, and a direct connection with the competition.

For more information of the ICCO House of PR at Cannes Lions 2019 contact rob.morbin@iccopr.com

Omar Qirem announced as new PRCA MENA Chairman and ICCO Middle East President

Omar Qirem, Chief Executive Officer, Edelman Middle East will succeed Loretta Ahmed FPRCA, CEO Middle, Turkey and Africa, Grayling at the head of the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) MENA, the leading PR association for the region.

 

Upon assuming this role, Omar will also take over from Loretta as the region’s champion at the International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO), the global PR association. Omar will be one of five Regional Presidents at ICCO, led by overall President Elise Mitchell and Chief Executive Francis Ingham. ICCO membership includes over 3,000 PR and communications agencies in 66 countries.

 

Upon being announced, Omar Qirem said:

 

“I am honored to be taking up the role of PRCA MENA Chairman and look forward to continuing the good work of Loretta Ahmed. My personal commitment is to continue to support our members and communication agencies across the Middle East and North Africa to grow and evolve, while contributing to the development of the industry in the region.

 

“I’m also relishing the opportunity to be the Middle East Region President for ICCO, ensuring this dynamic part of the world has an active role in shaping the global voice of PR.”

 

Loretta Ahmed added:

 

“PRCA MENA is now well established with the support of a strong membership base, a busy programme of events and our third annual PRCA MENA awards around the corner. I look forward to giving my continued support through our own agency membership as PRCA MENA grows and evolves, providing agencies and in-house members across the region with its unique blend of international insights and local events and networking programmes”

 

ICCO Chief Executive and PRCA MENA Director General Francis Ingham MPRCA commented:

 

“Loretta’s contribution as founding Chairman of PRCA MENA and as ICCO’s first Middle East President has been outstanding, and I’d like to thank her for everything that she’s done over the past three years. I look forward to working just as closely with Omar as we continue to represent the region’s PR practitioners, and to grow both organisations’ footprints and activities.”

 

ICCO’s next bi-annual board meeting will for the first time take place in Dubai on Tuesday 12th February, with the annual PRCA MENA awards taking place the following evening on Wednesday 13th February. Sandwiched between these two events, The Holmes Report will be running their Innovation Summit at The Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Dubai.

 

PRCA MENA is the leading PR association for MENA, with a network covering PR and communications across 13 countries within the region.

 

ENDS

ICCO announces winners of its Global Awards 2018 and inductees to Hall of Fame

The annual ICCO Global Awards saw winners take away awards in 19 categories at an event which celebrated the best of global communications.

The black-tie event brought together leading communications experts from across the globe at the Landmark Hotel in London on the evening of 5th December, and was hosted by TV presenter Juliet Mann.

Big winners on the night included Mischief, which won the Media Relations award for work with Lego; and the Technology award for the Waistcoat’s Coming Home campaign with Huawei. FleishmanHillard took home Network of the Year for the Americas; and the PR Leader of the Year Award was handed to Jim Donaldson and Ali Gee, who jointly lead FleishmanHillard Fishburn in London.

This year’s Rising Star of the Year was handed to Saikat Pyne, of Paytm in India.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, said: “Once again, the ICCO Global Awards represents the leading global PR and communications work. The quality and standard of every entry into the awards this year has truly exceeded expectations. Huge congratulations to all those who are taking home an award tonight, I look forward to seeing all of you again next year.”

Barri Rafferty, partner, president and CEO of Ketchum, and Andrey Barannikov CEO of SPN Communications became the 35th and 36th inductees into the ICCO Hall of Fame, an accolade that celebrates exceptional contribution to the PR Industry.

The ICCO Hall of Fame (HoF) was established in 2003 at the ICCO Global Summit held in Berlin. The ICCO community felt there was a need to recognise and honour people who have made exceptional progress in the internationalisation of the public relations industry, who have combined cultural sensitivity with commercial acumen and have enhanced the discipline and expanded the scope of public relations activity globally.

On accepting the award, Andrey Barannikov said ““I am very happy to adjoin such a fantastic group of communicators such as Harold Burson and Daniel Edelman. It’s a great achievement for the whole Russian industry, which developed very quickly in the last 25 years and it’s a great honour to be the first Russian inducted into the Hall of Fame. Thank you to everybody who nominated me and great thanks to the team of SPN Communications – without their support I would not be able to achieve this accolade.”

Barri Rafferty said “I am honored to be inducted into the ICCO Hall of Fame. This recognition encompasses the work of those at Ketchum who have a restless quest for new approaches; who are smart, bold thinkers who challenge the status quo, and who inspire our clients and one another every day. My thanks to them and to ICCO for this recognition,”

The full list of winners is as follows:

B2B
Man Bites Dog
Korn Ferry Global Talent Crunch

Broadcast
MSL Group
Medlife – The first brain surgery broadcasted in LIVE 360 VR from Romania

Consumer
Hotwire
Even Divas Stay In Hostels

Crisis and Issues
Civil Aviation Authority
Monarch Airlines: Britain’s biggest peacetime repatriation

CSR
IKEA Italy
No Room for Violence

Digital and New Media
Emanate GmbH
Burger King Deutschland GmbH – BK Loving ‘IT’

Healthcare
Ketchum
NSC: Prescribed to Death

Independent Consultancy of the Year Americas
MWWPR

Independent Consultancy of the Year Asia-Pacific
Value 360

Independent Consultancy of the Year EMEA
Geelmuyden Kiese

Media Relations
Mischief
Lego: Happy Birthday Brick

Not for Profit
RICE Communications
Speaking up for the voiceless: Voices for Momos with WWF – Myanmar

PR Leader(s) of the Year
Jim Donaldson and Ali Gee
FleishmanHillard Fishburn

Regional Network of the Year Americas
FleishmanHillard

Regional Network of the Year APAC
Weber Shandwick

Regional Network of the Year EMEA
Hill+Knowlton Strategies

Rising Star of the Year
Saikat Pyne, Paytm

Technology
Mischief
Waistcoat’s Coming Home

Hall of Fame
Barri Rafferty, Ketchum
Andrey Barannikov, SPN Communications

ICCO launches World PR Report 2018-2019: “Our time in the sun is now -and in the years to come”

The ICCO World PR Report 2018-2019 released today reveals agency heads in every region of the world predict increased profitability this year compared with last year.

The World PR Report 2018-2019 was launched by International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) Chief Executive Francis Ingham on Tuesday 27th November at a combined ICCO-PRCA Southeast Asia-AMEC conference in Singapore at 12:00 SGT (04:00 GMT); and then at events across the world.

For the past five years, the ICCO World PR Report has surveyed agency heads to take the temperature of the global PR industry, and to identify areas of growth; expectations for investment; and future challenges. The findings are reported both as global trends, but also region-specific results. The Report also includes the Holmes Top 250 Agency Rankings.

Key findings include:
On a scale of 1-10, the global average for optimism is 7.7, on a par with last year (7.8). The most optimistic markets are Africa (7.9) and Asia (7.8). The least are the Middle East (6.6) and Eastern Europe (6.6).

When asked about expectations of profitability, the global average is 6.9, compared to 6.4 last year. Asia came in highest with a score of 7.7, followed by Western Europe at 7.2. Africa came in lowest at 6.1.

Corporate reputation is cited by agency heads as a function set to grow over the next twelve months. 44% also predict growth in digital/online communications; with 39% citing social responsibility as an area of growth.

Social media community management tops the list of areas that should expect increased investment over the next few years, at 43%. This is followed by multimedia content creation (41%), and digital build and production (35%).

On the subject of measurement, the Report reveals that 48% of global respondents do not ever use AVEs, up from 44% in 2017. The main global reason given for the continued minority’s use of AVEs is that it is expected by clients (26%). The existence of AVEs is highest in the Middle East, where only 15% report that they do not ever use them.

The biggest challenges identified were clients not committing sufficient funds (38%) and clients being too short-term focused (34%). Retaining key staff is the top talent specific challenge (61%).

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, said: “In every region of the world, agencies expect to be more profitable this year than last. And given the uncertain times in which we work, that speaks volumes. CEOs continue to increase financial investment in their corporate reputation, while investor activism and social media transparency have intensified the focus on delivering not just good numbers, but doing so with integrity. These trends have helped fuel a demand for senior counsel.

“Clients not committing sufficient funds relates clearly to our inability to still fully prove our value. And that in turn relates to our under-investment in evaluation. But we should also acknowledge progress here. In every region of the world, those saying AVEs are their preferred method of evaluation has fallen. Evaluation becomes more sophisticated with each passing year. While there is more work to be done, much progress has been made.

“All around the world, PR is growing in size and in influence. Our time in the sun is now -and in the years to come.”
Barry Leggetter, CEO, AMEC, added: “Every year the ICCO World PR Report gives us more encouragement that the global education programme to show PR professionals the business benefits of using evaluation is working. AMEC will continue to partner with ICCO and PRCA to persuade the PR industry to invest more in evaluation, because only then will PR firms be able to fully prove their value to clients.”

Sarah Hall, Founder and Editor, #FuturePRoof, commented: “It’s encouraging to see that public relations is booming in every market around the world. Organisations recognise our value in engaging with stakeholders to build trust and reputation, and help organisations tell their story through content.

“ICCO’s analysis shows that agencies have firmly got to grips with the paid, earned, shared and owned media model. Earned and owned media typically lead with paid and shared used to drive amplification or performance.

“However it’s not all good news. Budgets and talent remains a challenge. Agencies need to take an agile approach to managing staff.”

The Global Women in PR (GWPR) survey results are also contained within the report, with family commitments being identified as the biggest barrier to women reaching leadership positions.
“Fundamental to changing this is to have better flexible working policies in place, yet only 67% of organisations allow employees to work from home on a regular basis,” said Angela Oakes, Joint President of GWPR, also citing parental leave as an issue. “Though most organisations have parental leave policies in place, three quarters of those that take this are women.”

Download the World PR Report 2018-2019 here

PR Is Where It Was Always Meant To Be

Maja Pawinska Sims, Editor, Holmes Report

For the Original article on The Holmes Report, click here.

DUBLIN — The public relations industry has never been closer to being what it was always meant to be, according to Fleishman Hillard global CEO John Saunders.

Speaking at the International Communications Consultancies Organisations (ICCO) Global Summit in Dublin this week, Saunders said he is now frequently told by clients that PR has never been more important than it is today, and impacts on every decision they make: “Time and again I hear that the work we do for our clients is essential. In my opinion our profession is in a very good place.”

In a bullish speech, Saunders said the shift in consumer expectations of business, in particular the requirement for businesses to take a stand on social and political issues, was a major driver of PR’s strong position: “It’s harder and harder to remain neutral. Even if a company wants to stay neutral they should at least be prepared if they are forced to take a stand, and helping them is squarely in PR’s wheelhouse.

“There’s a terrific opportunity to elevate our role: we’re now brand navigators. It’s what PR was always meant to be: we’re guiding companies through how they are going to act, not just messaging and channels.”

Saunders referenced P&G chief marketing officer Marc Pritchard speaking to the Holmes Report in August, when Pritchard said: “There used to be a lot of discussion about having a seat at the table. But I hear that less, because more PR pros are grabbing the wheel and showing their creative brilliance.”

And he said there was no “silver bullet” for public relations: “Advertising is fundamentally changing and the advertising world is in turmoil trying to come to grips with everything from how to price media buying to how the ad world deals with Google and Facebook. All over the place I see people looking for a silver bullet for PR too. There is no silver bullet. Whether you are independent or part of a holding company, the firms that win are the ones with the best talent.”

On the ongoing debate of whether the PR industry needs to find another way of describing itself, Saunders said: “I’m OK with being called a PR guy. It will be very difficult to come up with something that sticks better with clients and the public.”

ICCO announces newest member and reveals location for 2019 Global Summit

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) recently unveiled the location for its 2019 Summit at the 2018 ICCO Global Summit in Dublin.

Taking place in Lisbon, Portugal, on 10th – 11th October, the 2019 ICCO Global Summit will once again bring together CEOs, Directors, business leaders, and agency owners from over 50 different countries to share insights.

Teresea Figueira, Partner, Lift Consulting and Vice President, The Portuguese Association of Business Council in Communication and Public Relations (APECOM), said: “Thank you so much for giving APECOM and Lisbon the opportunity to host such an event. We will work with ICCO to put together a programme as great as the one we have enjoyed here in Dublin.”

The theme for this year’s Summit was ‘shaping the future of public relations’, and featured presentations from global PR and communications leaders such as Alan VanderMolen, President International, WE Communications; Barri Rafferty, Global CEO, Ketchum; John Saunders, Global CEO, FleishmanHillard; and Sinead McSweeney, VP EMEA Communications, Twitter.

The event encompassed discussions around advocacy, combating mistrust and fake news, data science, measurement, creativity, and rethinking how to make businesses as well as campaigns more human.

ICCO also took this opportunity to announce CICOM in Mexico as the latest Member, joining 40 other member associations collectively covering 55 countries.

“CICOM is delighted to join ICCO and bring over 1,600 Mexican communications firms into ICCO membership. It is an important time for the industry to be collaborating more and more across borders and we look forward to exchanging our own knowledge and expertise with that of communicators around the world” said CICOM President, Lorena Carreño

CICOM is the Confederation of the Marketing Communication Industry in Mexico, a leading body that integrates commercial communication across the country. CICOM represents more than 1,200 companies in Mexico.

Elise Mitchell, President, ICCO, said: “After gathering together some of the industry’s greatest leaders for an incredibly insightful and successful Summit in Ireland this year, I’m delighted to announce Lisbon as next year’s location. 2018’s theme was all about looking ahead to the future, and I welcome the opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come, and how the industry has made good on its statements, at the 2019 Summit.

“I also am delighted to welcome Mexico as the latest ICCO member. They join 55 countries across the globe, that collectively represent over 4,000 PR firms.”

Welcome to Innovative Ireland

Rhona Blake,  Managing Director, FleishmanHillard Ireland and Chairman, Public Relations Consultants Association (Ireland) welcomes PR leaders to the ICCO Summit in Dublin, Ireland, a country punching above its weight and playing its part in shaping the future of PR.

It is my pleasure to welcome our colleagues from across the world to Dublin for the ICCO Global Summit 2018. In our native language, Gaeilge, we say céad míle fáilte – a hundred thousand welcomes.

This Summit takes place within days of the tenth anniversary of what, for many, was the beginning of public awareness of a recession that would leave few, if any, of our nations untouched – the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Ireland was more deeply impacted than many economies, however, ten years on, it is very much back and open for business. The Global Innovation Index, co-published by Cornell University, ranks this small nation fourth in the world in infrastructure, knowledge, and technology outputs, and tenth for market sophistication. We also score highly in areas such as tech exports and foreign direct investment. The number of people at work is now higher than before the crash and our Central Statistics Office recently announced that the number of Irish emigrants moving back to the country has overtaken the numbers leaving, for the first time since 2008.

So, these are times of optimism for our small island. And in our role as advisors to local and global brands and organisations we have a responsibility to avoid complacency and to look ahead to the next decade.

Certainly, we are living in interesting, disrupted and disruptive times. On this island, Brexit is a game-changer, whatever shape it takes. World trade wars reach into our businesses and those of our clients. Shifts in climate, technology, and political ideologies alter the contexts in which we work. There are inter-generational divides in western economies of a nature we have not seen before. We focus a lot on the so-called ‘millennial’ generation but in this country, for example, the over 50s are the fastest growing segment of the population and the most affluent. Indeed, young people in many developed economies no longer expect to be better off than their parents.

These are some of the reasons why the theme of ICCO 2018, Shaping the Future, is so apt. I look forward to sharing and learning from our peers across the world as to how best we can prepare ourselves to help and counsel our clients and to do what we do best, take care of business. As Abraham Lincoln said: ‘the best way to predict the future is to create it’.

I hope you enjoy the 2018 ICCO Global Summit and your visit to Ireland.

 

Rhona Blake, Chairman of PRCA Ireland

#CannesUncovered

Expert tips and analysis for those contemplating the Lions in 2019

On Wednesday, 12th September, ICCO hosted #CannesUncovered at WE Communications offices in Covent Garden, London. The event encompassed analysis and observations of Cannes Lions 2018 from a variety of perspectives, as well as bold predictions and practical advice for those looking ahead to 2019.

“If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than Trash Isles”, says Cannes Lions judge Candace Kuss, Social Media Director, H+K Strategies. The campaign went beyond traditional methods, they formed a country recognised by the United Nations! That’s something completely unprecedented in PR and it influenced political debate globally. Brands’ close affinity with politics and purpose was an inescapable trend throughout the festival’s awards and plenaries.

 

Discourse first, awards second?

So much so, Ruth Allchurch, UK Managing Director, WE Communications, challenged the nature of the festival itself, asking if it should be “discourse first, awards second”? Could Cannes become the Davos of the PR industry? The conversations, speeches, and debate have moved the festival in this direction to become a forum for discussion on strategic communication, reputation management, and business topics that stretch beyond the fantastic creativity. Could the thrust of the festival be altered to reflect this push for purpose?

 

Less yachts, more politics

Samantha Fay, Senior Vice President, Global Brand Strategy, Guinness World Records, observed that from a brand perspective, the word of the week was “disruption”. Across the fringe festival, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were at a tech show: with huge beaches hosted by Google, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others. Beyond this, management consultancy was there in a big way, including IBM and Accenture with a particularly large presence. Having visited the festival for the past seven years, Sam observes that it is growing up, there are less yachts and more serious conversations about global politics, concluding this direction of travel will continue is years to come.

 

Expect FOMO, plan ahead

Dee O’Connell, Director of Insight, FlieshmanHillard, provided some advice for anyone planning to make their Lions debut in 2019. Expect the FOMO, there is so much happening across the festival that you will inevitably feel you have missed out on something big – whether it be a huge moment, event, speech, piece of work, or something massive that everyone seems to be talking about. It’s important for individuals and teams to plan ahead – plan your time realistically and effectively knowing that you can’t do everything. She continued that whilst there is so much great PR work, not enough agencies were entering and with a bit more courage, confidence, and planning, 2019 could be a chance for PR agencies to reclaim territory in space being eaten up by other industries.  A final tip – avoid PowerPoint at all costs, the best sessions were discussions, games, demonstrations, and audience interactions.

 

Fiorenza Plinio, Head of Creative Excellence, Cannes Lions, picked out the three main themes of Cannes 2018 as ‘Politics’, ‘Experience’, and ‘Human’, reflecting both the analysis of the other panellists and the wider industry magnetism towards politics. As Ruth Allchurch put it, a “human first, tech last” approach, and Angela Ahrendts, former CEO of Burberry, and now head of the Apple’s retail activities, said in her session: “Apple is in the ‘humanity business’. “

 

ICCO hosts the House of PR at Cannes Lions every year – a hub for the PR industry throughout the festival, hosting networking events, seminars, and interviews, helping PR agencies maximise their time spent at the festival. If you’re interested in either dropping in, hosting an event, or just generally picking up some advice for 2019, contact ICCO General Manager Rob Morbin rob.morbin@iccopr.com.

PRs and communicators should to learn to love AI

Understand and use AI the right way, learn to love what it can do for you in comms, and it will be an essential ally in your work. 

By Joanna Arnold

We know one of the greatest challenges for PRs and communicators is getting an up-to-date and informed 360 degree view and perception of the brands they work on.

How do you cope with all the external and internal information available to build this picture? In real time?

You need as much relevant data as possible but too much unfiltered, or uncontextualised, information hinders good – and timely – decision making. Particularly when you are at the centre of a media storm.

The challenge of context and communication

Imagine being at the centre of the turmoil surrounding TSB at the moment. A severe IT failure – and ongoing problems – has angered UK consumers and investors, and left TSB CEO Paul Pester facing some difficult questions. How can he and his advisors manage the bank’s reputation, and his own, by keeping on top of the latest news as the story continues to unfold?

This is not just a consumer story, of course. What are the 8,500 or so UK staff at TSB thinking and feeling, let alone saying, on social media? There are the views of regulators and the Government to consider too.

Unfortunately, you don’t have to go far to think of another multi-faceted comms challenge. Think of the stories around the fallout from Sir Martin Sorrell’s departure from WPP in April. It’s not just about what journalists are writing, however. What about other stakeholders, such as investors and clients? Coverage of WPP’s AGM last week highlighted differing views from investors on how Sir Martin’s departure has been handled. And, it’s not just WPP’s reputation that is affected, it is that of Sir Martin, and WPP’s chairman Roberto Quarta.

To plan for, react to and predict the right way to deal with stories like these, you need to know which influencers are receptive to your messaging and content. And those who are hostile. Or likely to be. And are those influencers capable of affecting your, or your client’s, reputation with your key audiences and stakeholders?

You also need to filter out the wrong information – from irrelevant stories to fake news –  and all of this should be available as quickly as possible through a single accessible platform.

Ultimately, you need actionable intelligence to be effective.

And this is where AI comes in. AI sits at the heart of the solution as a powerful way of contextualising and filtering excessive unstructured data.

It can help you react fast to existing issues, find key stakeholders aligning with strategic topics quickly and can help you identify emerging topics and future opportunities and challenges through correlating events and patterns.

Media monitoring is a great example of this. It’s a crucial tool in the communicator’s armoury requiring the consumption, analysis and contextualisation of information from virtually everywhere – not just the media. At Vuelio, monitoring covers all the activity from the UK Parliaments, Government departments and the wider stakeholder community. AI has a massive role to play here – what’s more, it is only just starting to fulfil its potential.

But, of course, AI can help further. It will take on the burden of contact management – whether you are talking about stakeholders or journalists or clients – and boost relationship management in almost every dimension.

Just think about the benefits of true integration, as profiles are enriched by information and feedback from the rest of the platform, your on-going activity and its impact on key audiences. All of this will give communicators actionable, real-time intelligence based on a filter of the world’s millions of news sources and publications.

In short, AI – particularly machine learning – will help us not only react to what has just happened, or been published, Tweeted or Instagrammed, it will help us plan what we should be doing next.

Effective strategic decision-making and predictive PR strategies

Ultimately, this should enable more effective strategic decision-making and gives us the potential to create truly predictive PR and stakeholder strategies.

It’s all about intelligence, and not just the artificial kind. If your relationship management platform is hyper-targeted and contextualised, you will start to get real-time global intelligence at scale and enhance your role. Think of the power and opportunity you will then have at your fingertips.

If we don’t allow the exciting possibilities of AI to help us – as communicators – keep on top of a rapidly changing world, how will we ever keep up with the present, let alone enter the future with confidence?

The CIPR is doing a great job presenting the power of the possibilities new technology offers, but, to realise them fully, more of us need to learn to love AI.

About Joanna Arnold

Joanna is the CEO of Access Intelligence, which owns Vuelio, the leading provider of software for communications, public affairs and stakeholder engagement, and owner of the annual Vuelio Blog Awards, which takes place on November 30 2018. Joanna joined Access Intelligence in December 2008 and has completed three acquisitions and two funding rounds with the business.

Originally written for wadds.co.uk. You can see the original article here.

Author: Joanna Arnold, CEO, Access Intelligence