PRII conference 2015

The Public Relations Institute of Ireland welcomed over 150 attendees to their annual PRII conference in the Clyde Court Hotel, on Thursday, the 22nd of October. Respected Author, Journalist, and Broadcaster, Matt Cooper was the MC for the day’s proceedings. 

President of the PRII, Jacqueline Hall extended a warm welcome to all of the attendees, and spoke about an organisation’s requirement for communication to be at the core of all decision making.

Dr Anne Gregory, Professor of Corporate Communication at the University of Huddersfield, was the first Keynote Speaker of the morning. Dr Gregory’s presentation, entitled ‘PR – A time to Lead’ discussed the importance of communication in business and how an organisation would cease to exist without communication. In summarising her discussion, Dr Gregory stated that there was a clear and pressing need for a new form of leadership and now is the time for PR to lead.

A panel discussion on ‘communication’s influence in the boardroom’ featured UCD’s professor of Management, Niamh Brennan, John Mullins, CEO of Amarenco, Fiona Tierney CEO, Public Appointments Service, and Kevin Rafter Associate Professor of Political Communication at DCU. The panel discussed the use of communication in a number of well-known Irish organisations, including Ryanair and Irish Water. Niamh Brennan stated that communication is the job of the management, not the job of the board. While John Mullins described the importance of making sure a company’s employees believed in their own message.

After a short interval, Alan Breen, Press Officer for Dublin City Council, presented a case study titled ‘Garth Brooks – Subject to License’ which focused on the news story of 2014, the decision of Garth Brooks to cancel his concerts in Croke Park.  Alan provided an insight into the timeline of the entire event and how vital communication was for Dublin City Council throughout.

Following on from Alan Breen, Minster for Health, Leo Varadkar, T.D. took part in a Q&A section with Matt Cooper. Minister Varadkar told Matt that 20-25% of his job is focused on communications and media. He also discussed how improving communications at political level is a necessity saying ‘Politicians are going to have to grow up a bit’ if they want to improve upon this.

Pauline Madigan, Lecturer at the Institute of Technology Carlow, Martyn Rosney, Young Communications Professional of the Year, and Account Director at Edelman, Communications Professional Karl Anderson, and Founder of Thinkhouse, Jane McDaid all joined Matt Cooper for a panel discussion on ‘Developing Skills and Adding Value’. The consensus of the panel was portrayed by Karl Anderson when he said ‘Having high levels of critical thinking skills and business competency are needed in PR’.

Michael Patten, Group Human Resources & Corporate Affairs Director at Glanbia plc was the first post lunch speaker on stage. Michael’s topic ‘Leading International Communications from Ireland’ provided the attendees with an inside view of the communication processes within Glanbia plc. Michael discussed the importance of monitoring all brands, on all forms of media, including social. Glanbia plc monitor every single brand 24/7 as an organisation’s ‘reputation is now measurable and actionable’ so it is important to know what is being communicated about your business.

Aoife Clarke, Head of Public Relations at Lidl Ireland spoke of the introduction and development of a PR and communications department within Lidl. Aoife described the growth of the PR department throughout the last seven years and how Lidl Ireland are now the most innovative PR department in their company, planning and launching something new every year. This innovation has allowed Lidl to increase their PR value from €0 to €132million since 2010.

Conall McDevitt, CEO of Hume Brophy, was the penultimate speaker of the day. Conall presented on ‘Irish PR Agencies in a Global Context’, where he spoke about the day to day operations of Hume Brophy throughout the world. Attendees received an in-depth look at why Hume Brophy remain successful. Conall spoke of Hume Brophy’s 30% growth in Irish Business this year and described how they do Irish PR in an international context.

All three speakers then joined Matt Cooper on stage for a Q&A discussion.

Prior to the closing speech by Chief Executive of the PRII, John Carroll, attendees were treated to Kethcum’s Chief Engagement Officer Stephen Waddington who discussed ‘PR’s Resurgence in the Shift to Social’. Stephen described the five elements that make up the evolution of public relations. In his closing he spoke of the importance of analysing the public’s data, from all forms of media.

Kantar Media are Ireland's only provider of 360° media monitoring and analysis on one platform. For more pictures of this event please visit our twitter account.

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