PRII Annual Conference 2016

PRII ANNUAL Conference 2016

We were delighted to attend the PRII Annual Conference 2016 in The Ballsbridge Hotel, Dublin on October 20th. This year’s conference focused on communication’s contribution to organisational success.

The event began with a warm introduction from Jacqueline Hall, PRII President, who welcomed the record number of attendees to the event and also introduced our host for the day, Gina London.

The first keynote speaker of the day was Sixtine Bouygyes, Deputy Director General of the European Commission. Sixtine spoke about the succession of political challenges faced by the European Union; including the Financial and Economic Crisis, The Refugee Crisis, The Migration Crisis and also Terrorist Attacks.

It was interesting to see that while trust among European citizens continues to decline, the EU continues to be trusted more than national governments. In surmising her address, Sixtine stated that the future of communications is a combination of social and human and this is what the Europeans Commission are trying to do.

Topics Driving Discussion on Twitter During PRII Annual Conference

Following Sixtine, Alan Tyrrell, Agency Director with PSG Plus, spoke about how to successfully communicate in a crisis. Alan presented two case studies to show examples of how predicting an issue is not only possible but is a requirement of all businesses.

Alan reminded all of us to ‘Never waste a good crisis’. We should research, interrogate, share and quantify all issues. Communicating accurate information with the public allows organisations to improve relationships and enhance your reputation.

Andrew McLindon, Director of Communications with An Garda Síochána was next on stage and spoke to attendees about three case studies that helped An Garda Síochána to improve relationships with the public while also increasing their trust. He spoke about campaigns previously activated by An Garda Síochána; Operation Thor, Road Safety, and Child Rescue Alert.

Engaging in traditional and social media communications allowed An Garda Síochána to reach their target audience effectively, with operation Thor helping to decrease burglaries by 30% in the first 6 months of 2016. Over 50% of people who viewed the campaign also positively changed their security habits.

Andrew closed by speaking about An Garda Síochána’s communications strategy and how it is important to demonstrate impact, effectiveness, and credibility when implementing any strategy or communications platform.

Gender Split - PRII 2016

Social Media Commentator Gender Split

Emma Kelly, Founder and Managing Director of Elevate PR, spoke about the work carried out by her company on Irish Design's 'ID2015' campaign. Emma told attendees that the learnings she took from the campaign were that fashion and interiors are an easy sell in, however architecture and visual communications are a much harder sell.

John Saunders, president and CEO of FleishmanHillard was the next keynote speaker to take the stage. Engaging in a discussion with Gina London, John spoke briefly about his successful career in the PR industry, from the beginning to the current day and being offered his position as President and CEO of FleishmanHillard over the phone while celebrating his Wife’s birthday in Kenmare Bay Hotel.

John referenced the value of his background as being a contributing factor in his success, stating ‘Being Irish, working in a global environment, is an enormous gift’. Speaking of the future of the PR industry, John commented that PR firms populated by journalists, who produce high quality content, is the way forward. In his closing words, John remarked that ‘Ireland is a beacon for PR’.

Top Tweeters - Impact

Top Tweeters by Impact

In the final session of the morning, Niamh Boyle, Managing Director of The Reputations Agency, Barney Whelan, recently retired Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs for An Post, and Aileen Power, Head of Corporate Communications with Standard Life, spoke on evaluating and demonstrating the impact of PR. In this session we learned that a strong reputation helps increase the revenue for a business while also reducing transactional costs.

Dr. Ansgar Zerfass, from the Institute of Communications and Media Studies at University of Leipzig was our third keynote speaker of the day. Dr. Zerfass discussed the 3 levels of communications within an organisation, as well as the nine commandments of excellent communication an organisation should implement to leverage the power of communication.

Speaking on the importance of Big Data, Dr. Zerfass discussed how it can allow a business to plan better strategies, with three quarters of communicators surveyed believing it will change the way they do their jobs.

In closing, Dr. Zerfass emphasised that the value of communications has 4 major strands:

  1. Influencing Stakeholder attitudes and behaviours
  2. Creating and maintaining intangible assets
  3. Supporting strategic alignment positioning
  4. Performance management and controlling.

Following Dr. Zerfass, Catherine Dennehy, Communications Lead at Three Ireland presented an insightful look at the internal communications within her company surrounding the acquisition of O2 by Three Mobile.

Catherine spoke about ‘Altogether Three’ which was employed to make Three a collective and better place to work.

Three introduced a sustained programme of communications to bring employees of the newly merged O2 and Three together and create a culture of appreciation. ‘Our Way Week’ allowed Three to communicate the company values to all employees while also providing rewards throughout the week. This initiative helped 77% of all employees increase their understanding of the company's values.

Most Impactful Authors - Volume

Most Impactful Authors During PRII Annual Conference 2016

The final keynote speaker of the day was Dr. Laoise Ó Murchú, with her presentation; ‘Leading from within’.

Dr. Ó Murchú remarked that a successful communicator must understand the element of emotion when trying to drive organisational performance.

Attendees were told that an organisation is wasting time and money asking employees for feedback if they don’t action it. This leads to employees seeing communications as a box ticking exercise. Dr. Ó Murchú outlined three questions organisations should ask to help improve:

  1. What are we good at?
  2. What could we do better?
  3. How would we know if we got better?

Dr. Ó Murchú advised all communications professionals and organisations to focus on developing internal structures if they want to perform better. In closing, we were presented with 4 take away points.

  1. Start within – know the business of the business
  2. Communicate within – there should be a 2 way stream of communications. Managers need to spend significant time talking with their people.
  3. Emotion drives behaviour – Understand how employees are feeling and engage with them on an emotional level.
  4. Be Happy – Happy news makes us productive and makes us want to share and be helpful.

In his closing address, John Carroll, Chief Executive of the PRII, spoke of the great work carried out by the Institute over the past number of years, along with institute’s response to the Regulation of Lobbying Act. He also congratulated Jacqueline Hall on her successful two year term as PRII President, which concludes in December.

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*Social Media Data was gathered by Kantar Media between 9:00am and 5:00pm on October 20th 2016.*



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