At the tenth World Public Relations Forum – probably the most diverse and reputed Public Relations gathering in the world the theme is: Value! Communication’s impact in a digital and ever-changing world. And delegates will explore these changes from three main perspectives: truth, profit and intelligence. These are simple yet powerful terms that fully comprise public relations.
Public Relations is about the truth. Honest storytelling is at the core of a happy human life. People live to tell stories, listen to stories and be the subject of the story. There are happy stories, horror stories, boring stories and all kinds of stories that we come across. But the stories that linger longest are those that are heartfelt and true. Authenticity is essential to any story and the more authentic the story the more powerful they become. Smart brands and smart people use this age-old tradition very effectively and even better now in the age of social networks and video sharing.
The next goal of Public Relations to help the person, organisation or brand make a profit in various ways. There is the monetary profit at the core, But, more importantly there is the profit of a better reputation, more goodwill, increased engagement and high trust. Look at the two stories from the past week, two of which centred around the City of brotherly love – Philadelphia. One was the story of how two customers at a Starbucks outlet were handed over to the police which has now led to a public apology by the CEO and well-advised action of getting this iconic brand to shut down all its outlets in North America for half a day on May 29th so that partners (that is how the brand refers to its employees) can undergo an anti-bias training. The brand has hit several birds with one stone. The other brand that was in the news for wrong reasons is Southwest which undertook an emergency landing in the said city. The beauty of the entire tragedy was how the pilot carried herself and the video message of the CEO full of genuine empathy.
The ultimate role of Public Relations is to convert data and information into insights that becomes the heart of any campaign. Artificial intelligence is slowly making inroads and threatening to play havoc with professions and careers in the not so distant future. Public Relations of the highest level will still require human intervention because no two crises will be similar, and no two humans will be similar. However, only the supremely intelligent will survive. Intelligence is partially inherited and partially acquired. Those who acquire it before calamity strikes will be able to derive and offer value.
My presentation at the World Public Relations Forum in Oslo will focus on how we (a tiny team of volunteers) built social enterprises that are creating value to the larger professional community, making not just monetary profits but also creating the new concept of Goodwill, Reputation, Engagement, Affinity and Trust a reality. All this ultimately lead to much benefit for all. I want to publicly thank Boring Brands for helping to beautify my presentation by curating a set of stunning images. I hope to share the presentation on SlideShare in due course.