ProCom, the oldest communication association in Europe, ready to welcome the Global Alliance Annual Meeting
ProCom is hosting this year's Global Alliance Annual General Meeting on June 3/4. Elina Melgin, Managing Director of ProCom, gives us a glimpse into the world of Finnish practitioners.
Can you give us an overview of the state of Public Relations and Communication in Finland and, more in general, in the Scandinavian and Baltic region? What are the main trends, strengths and development areas for Finnish professionals in this industry?
I believe all Nordic and Baltic countries share the same trends. Communication is always linked to global megatrends. Political and societal crises, climate change, interculturalism, unstable economy, human rights…
Each country has spesific strenghts to tackle issues in PR/Communications. In Finland I would list: Strategy Communication, Investor Relations and Reputation management. Finland has also been a peer model country to Crises issues on state level. Social media but also diplomacy plays a key role in crises communication today. Nobel Peace Prize in 2008 was awarded to former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari (supported by his office Crisis Management Initiative).
Finland also has exceptional knowledge on international business with Russia and Baltic states.
Finns have strong knowledge in forest industry and telecommunications.
Finns are also known globally as a country of creativity. Design, architecture, music... they all are of high standard. In PR business creativity requires agility, experimenting, dissidence, bravery and – guts, “sisu” as we Finns say.
What is the profile of the modern Finnish communicator?
Finnish PR and corporate communications today is not any different from that of the rest of Europe. I believe that the high standard of foreign language education is an important factor in the ability to adapt to other cultures and environments. Swedish is a compulsory subject and most PR professionals possess a high degree of proficiency in English and one more language, like French, German, Spanish, Chinese or Russian.
Also, according to the latest vast communication survey conducted in Finland, 86 % of Finnish communicators have a higher degree education, either in communications or, for example in economics, leadership or marketing. The percentage has risen 18 % (from 68 % to 86 %) since 1983.
ProCom is the oldest communication association in Europe with roots going back to 1947. What role has ProCom played in Finland and what are the main challenges for the future?
The first tasks of the new born association in 1947 related to country image management and PR education inside Finland. The Second World War had just ended. The early association was a private club, like a network run by the men who had taken care of enlightenment, propaganda and information during the wartime.
During these 65 years a lot has happened in the field of PR in Finland. The Finnish Association today consists of more than 2000 communication professionals, majority being women. Tomorrow´s challenges are not easy to put in one or two sentences. Communication and PR is a growing professional field because it has finally been understood that leadership and business strategy are linked to communication. I personally believe the challenges are in the professionalism of professionals. How to give even more added value to the core strategic business? A seat at the board level with key leaders helps. But how to get one and keep it? This is a real challenge for us.
Social media play a significant role in ProCom’s communication activity. What impact do they have on the engagement of your stakeholders?
The impact is huge. Through social media we reach everyone who is interested and willing to participate. However, those who are in and follow social media channels are only one stakeholder group today. Not all professionals use it. However the younger PR generation does. Globally.
In June ProCom will host the Global Alliance Annual Meeting and it will hold a Nordic, Baltic and Russian PR Leadership Forum in co-operation with the Global Alliance and in conjunction with your largest annual event, ProCom Day. What will be the main themes of these events? What are the key opportunities for communication professionals who will attend them?
Our theme this year is "Communication, people and leadership". Through this theme we try to improve the cooperation between communication and HR departments. The common understanding in Finland (and we believe in many other countries, too) is that there could and should be more synergies between the two functions. Getting the two to interact more and to work together toward common goals would bring exceptional competitive advantage for any organization.
In ProCom Day and the Nordic, Baltic & Russian Leadership Forum we hope to get the communications and HR people at the same table, bringing the best specialists and latest cases up for discussion. The day will be a great opportunity for any communications or HR professional to hear the most interesting presentations, attend a number of great workshops, to get to know the Finnish business & communication landscape and, naturally, to meet colleagues from all around the world.