Despatch from Miami by Amith Prabhu: Global PR Summit offers insights and inspiration

01 Nov,2012

By Amith Prabhu


A great two days of insights, interaction and inspiration for the Global PR community. The Day 0 was dedicated to the independent PR firms which had two Indian PR professionals – Nitin Mantri (Avian) and Xavier Prabhu (PRHub) among panelists, representing their firms.


Day One began with breakfast roundtables followed by Welcome and introduction with Paul Holmes, Editor, Holmes Report and Harris Diamond, CEO, Weber Shandwick. A conversation with Marc Pritchard, Global CMO of Procter & Gamble was insightful. This was followed by sponsored panels by the global PR firms and culminating with a lecture on Ethics in Influence by Lord Peter Chadlington, CEO, Huntsworth Group,  who enthralled the audience with a hard hitting speech in which he said while there is a comparsion of  Lawyers with PR professionals   – “Lawyers represent cases in courts, which are structured and designed to guarantee fairness and equality of argument. PR people on the other hand, operate in a court of public opinion where no counterbalancing argument is guaranteed or governed by an accepted set of rules. For me, therefore, the argument breaks down.”


He suggested several questions PR professionals need to ask themselves, including whether they sometimes are used as a front to do thing with which clients do not wish to associated themselves, and whether the commercial drive might make then less willing to make their own moral position known? The highlight of the evening was the SABRE Awards where 50 of the world’s best PR programmes of 2011 were honoured. Unfortunately there were no awards for India.


The second day began with the another set of roundtables which was followed by the keynote address of the day by John Iawata – Global Marketing Chief of IBM who spoke on the New Models of Communication.  He stated: “It’s no longer about raising awareness in a world that is saturated with awareness. It’s about making people believe. Belief is much more difficult, but it unlocks the behaviour we are seeking.” This was followed by a series of sponsored panels led by various firms and all these are reported in detail on the event microsite. The interesting feature on both days was breakout sessions which had fifteen topics focusing on geographical regions, communications themes and Public Relations thrusts. The Emerging Markets session was led by Madan Bahal of Adfactor PR with three other co-panelists including Mahindra & Mahindra’s Roma Balwani.


The Global Summit was a event whose time had come. Despite Hurricane Sandy affecting in-person participation, the organisers managed to loop in several PR consultancy leaders via phone-ins. There were 10 Indians representing different organisations in attendance.


Amith Prabhu is a public relations professional who spent a large part of his career in India and is now based in Chicago working for a PR major. He is founding trustee of the PRomise Foundtaion and co-chair of PRAXIS 2012, an upcoming PR and corporate communications conference. This report is filed in his personal capacity


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