Does public relations really matter?

Dear colleagues,

Does public relations really matter? I have rarely been as optimistic as after the World Public Relations Forum 2016 that was co-hosted by the Canadian Public Relations Association and the Global Alliance in Toronto last month: While nationalism and nativism are on the rise globally, we spent 3 days exploring how to improve ‘Communications Across Cultures’. Moreover, delegates - be they from Argentina or Australia, from the UK or the UAE - did so in a civil debate that combined data, diversity, and deliberation.  Even the break chatter had changed: from the tiresome conversation about what is good public relations to an exploration of what good public relations can do.

That ‘spirit of Toronto’ persists in numerous voices that have since been raised. In keeping with that spirit, I invite you to listen to what they’re saying, instead of supplanting it with my own message.

See Russell Goldsmith’s review in which he covers the keynote speeches. He as well as Stephen Waddington describe the Global Communications Report, a key project of the Global Alliance. Stephen also writes about the progress made toward a global competency framework.

Jennifer Paukman connects the dots between speakers and identifies what she has learned. Mellissa Meyer does so for the panel of Canadian CEOs.

Daniel Munslow reports from Toronto about specific intercultural challenges and how they can be resolved. Christian Wick identifies what many delegates felt to be an emotional highlight, the plight and freedom of Mohamed and Samwa Fahmy.

Between the debates, we signed the agreement with Therese Manus and Nils Petter Strømmen from the Norwegian Communication Association for WPRF2018 in Oslo. They’re very well equipped for one of the toughest challenges in our industry: to make Oslo matter at least as much as much as Toronto.