The challenge to engage: Ireland marks social media as ‘game changer’ for public relations at the PRII 2012 annual conference
There’s no escaping social media if you are a public relations practitioner. That was the conclusive verdict from the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) annual conference in April. Headlined ‘Reputation Management in the Age of Digital’, speaker after speaker confirmed that willing or reluctant, the practitioner must engage.
Powerful themes and premises on which the conference presentations and discussions were based included whether the digital shift could have been forseen, the extent to which they would disrupt working practice and how social and digital media would give rise to citizen journalism and consumer power. The themes resonated strongly with delegates, all dealing with the opportunities versus challenges dichotomy social media poses in their day-to-day lives as ‘keepers of reputation’.
Topics addressed included: Disruption of the Media Status Quo, 21st Century Reputation Leadership, Measuring Your Work and Your Worth and case studies on reputation management from complex public sector organisations.
The conference outcome? Delegates left with an understanding that no one, including PR practitioners, can control the message any more but as professional communicators they are best placed to legitimately engage with stakeholders to earn trust. The old adage of “make friends on the way up because you might need them on the way down” took on a 21st century twist as contributors spoke of the need for organisations to create brand champions and possible reputation advocates by developing friends and followers.
The prevailing view was that sooner rather than later there will be a progression from getting to grips with social media towards more creative use of these platforms and integration with wider PR campaign activity.
Reputation Management in the Age of Digital was sponsored by Kantar Media.
About the PRII
The Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) represents almost 1,000 professional communicators, both in-house and consultancy based, in Ireland. Established in 1953, it celebrates 60 years in existence next year in 2013.
For more information, visit www.prii.ie