MIAMI—Some of the biggest challenges facing companies around the world—and their public relations leaders—will be on the agenda at the first Global Public Relations Summit, which will take place at the St Regis Bal Harbour Hotel in Miami on October 29-31.
The Summit, which is being organized by The Holmes Group to bring together industry leaders from every part of the world, will feature a host of senior speakers from the agency and corporate realms, drawn from the US and the UK, Africa and the Middle East, Western and Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
And as the agenda starts to take shape, it is clear that they and the Summit attendees will be discussing a wide range of critical issues, ranging from corporate culture and employee communications to the evolving role of public relations in brand building; from new reputation metrics to changing societal expectation of corporate citizenship; and with a strong emphasis on the impact of digital and social media on businesses and their communications policies and practices.
In the corporate reputation management realm, for example, there will be panels addressing issues such as:
• Defying Gravity: How Great Leaders Shift Organizations by Shifting Attention All significant progress requires a shift. Management lives in the Present; its role is to effectively and efficiently execute on what needs to be done. Leadership lives in the Future; the role of leaders is to focus the organization’s energy and momentum on what matters most. And there is no great Leadership without great Communication. This panel will highlight the critical role communication plays, using several “shift scenarios” as examples.
• How Compelling Culture Can Drive Business Change While fast-growing, global companies have a lot going for them, they can lose it all if they’re not grounded in something beyond the traditional measures of success. That “something” is a global culture that embodies the distinct face and feeling of a brand, while embracing the local flavors that establish relevance and connect with employees. Culture walks hand in hand with reputation; it’s what energizes a company's workforce and what a brand becomes known for. This panel will explore how an authentic and compelling global culture can drive positive business change, influence decisions and, in many cases, empower a company to accomplish the seemingly impossible.
• Communicating at the Speed of Risk In the digital era, the speed of risk and the potential for far-reaching reputational consequences have never been greater. Organizations can no longer afford to have only a crisis plan; they must have a crisis capability. So how do companies operate and protect their reputations in this new normal? This panel will cover lessons learned from some recent real-world examples.
• Are You PurPle? In a world where trust is in decline and social media are empowering people, what does it take to be a good corporate citizen? How should major organizations make it happen, leveraging purpose and maximizing people potential? Purpose is no longer just about responsible actions and supporting causes; it has become a true North star for companies, guiding everything they do. This panel will focus on Purpose + People: Purpose is about opportunity and potential. People make it real with their insights and passion. PurPle is all about change management and collaborative social innovation.
In the social media arena, there will be discussions around equally compelling topics:
• The Emergence of Social Commerce The convergence of communications and analytics is resulting in an evolution of how we view the paid/owned/shared/earned media model. In many respects, earned is becoming the leader and will increasingly guide the effective use of paid media, in the future. The result of this new alchemy is the birth of Social Commerce, which enables communicators to create demand and drive revenue. We are now capable of building Social Commerce strategies that evolve our overall sales strategy, as well as effectively position our brand’s story. The panel will discuss what is working and what challenges lay ahead.
• Marketing as a Spectator Sport Thanks to social media and its all-access culture, brand marketing is closely watched not just by insiders but also by consumers. In many cases, the marketing campaign itself becomes a tabloid story, where brands become either instantly famous or dangerously infamous. Panelists will how social media activity adds to the overall brand experience and how its instantaneous nature means a loss of control and inherent marketing risk for companies and will discuss and debate the long-term brand impact of instant social media commentary and fevered consumer participation in marketing campaigns.
• Global Sustainability Communications: Navigating the Digital Landscape It will aim to present sustainability, environmental, CSR and corporate communications professionals with an approach—in the form of a visual map, infographic style—that can help them prioritise key global digital influencers, communities and platforms. It will seek to map out the typical digital landscape critical in driving and shaping conversations on a specific sustainability issue such as climate change, waste, traceability, carbon or food security.
• The Message or the Medium? In 1964, Marshall McLuhan famously proposed that the medium chosen to relay a message, and not the message itself, should be the focus of communications. Today we have more channels than ever to distribute our message, but if the message isn’t right, will it resonate? Is today’s technology interrupting the message or enhancing it? What can communications professionals do to ensure that the message and the medium live in perfect harmony? This panel will explore this cultural shift and how it impacts brand engagement.
• Driving Collaboration in a Connected World: Who Leads? As clients seek more and more integration, agencies are being called upon to collaborate in new and different ways. Collaboration brings a unique set of challenges: Who should lead? How to avoid management by committee? How to have truly media-agnostic leadership? How to ensure the right people and expertise (not just the right firm) are brought to bear while building integrated efforts? And, how to ensure it all remains cost-effective for the client? Figuring out how to make collaboration work effectively to drive meaningful outcomes is one of the key success factors for companies today.
Dozens of additional panel discussions, as well as breakfast roundtables, will be added to the agenda over the coming weeks.