PR Summit 2014: PR has never been stronger, future is in integration

The sixth year of the prestigious conference PR Summit entitled Borders have been destroyed, Public Relations at the threshold of a new era has focused on the opportunities and threats of loose boundaries between PR and marketing, as well as the opportunities and challenges of measuring the effectiveness of PR, analysis and combining "big data," public communication, content hubs, social PR and connecting traditional and new communication channels.

As a part of the conference there was the sixth direct election of the PR Personality of the Year. The winner was the coffeehouse owner and cultural activist Ondřej Kobza, nominated for involvement and activation of public space and community life. During the conference, the participants decided also about the winner of the presentation contest RICPIC , this year targeted on the question "How to get 100,000 people to Wenceslas Square." The winner Roman Maco, KPMG, came with sophisticated solutions using his own "genial software" Idea Evaluator. Altogether the record number of 260 participants attended the event in Prague Žofín palace this year. The Summit was traditionally organized by Blue Events in cooperation with the Association of PR Agencies.

The conference key note speaker Barry Leggetter, CEO AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation in Communication) opened the first block "Welcome to the world without borders". In his presentation How to measure PR effects? he introduced seven of the most common prejudices prevailing in relation to PR effects measurement, and presented the current international trends. According to him the need for standardized measurement and evaluation is rapidly growing. A new trend in Western Europe is that procurement and contract managers are beginning to promote the need for measuring to be built in the new PR and communications contracts. Globally accepted framework for measuring the effectiveness of PR campaigns is a codex of seven "Barcelona Principles" adopted at the AMEC summit in 2010. Barry literally said: "If something currently connects competing offers of various PR agencies for the client, then it is a reference to the fact that they use and respect the Barcelona Principles." AMEC invests into global education program and on its Web site offers free use of a large amount of practical frameworks for on-line training or evaluation platform (Valid Metrics Framework) to measure the effect of traditional and social media. For more see "It has never been more important to measure the value of PR than today. We have enough analytical tools, experience interpretation and proper management that are important. This is an opportunity for both AMEC and APRA."

Petra Mašínová, the new CEO of Newton Media, recapitulated twenty years of service of the company and unveiled its new comprehensive solution supplemented with implementation recommendations. She stressed the current need to combine media data with those from expert and other sources, and based on the analysis of integrated "big data" to give not only communication, but also business recommendations. She illustrated all that on the case study of the issue of marijuana, to which there was recently found 148,000 contributions in the media from different points of view: political, economic, health, those in terms of civil liberties or personal responsibility. Using correct analysis it is possible to formulate very specific recommendations on how to behave and how to communicate for individual groups of interest: Police, domestic manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and "citizen pothead". "Data contain in themselves the context, trends and opportunities. It is necessary to combine, analyze and convert media intelligence into a competitive advantage - business intelligence. Wealth lies within the reach, just recognize it - it's worth it!"

Václav Friedmann, Director of Communications at Sazka, focused on the major changes during last two years in Sazka. After insolvency proceedings and set up of the new owner KKCG in 2013, they introduced a new approach to communication targeting better on the customers. They compiled a new five-member team which in cooperation with the agencies performed rebranding and focused on regaining the trust of the current and gaining younger customers. Sazka has also launched an innovated own portal, which massively involves the wider public into communication, working with a new look at gambling, involves the players and their entertainment and dreams, so that together they can move the Sazka world further on through activities on the web and social networks. They created a super editors' board (content hub), which connects all communication activities generating content: management of social networks, editors, PR and marketing. Users themselves are opening topics and create content and stories which Sazka offers to other media. They also prepare new projects in the area of corporate social responsibility: Olympic polyathlon. Another communication challenge will be brought by a new lottery law in 2016 which will allow the operation of games on the Internet, and therefore will enable a much more direct targeting on the customer. "It is necessary to engage the public in communication and let it create the custom content. The only solution is a comprehensive communication and blurring of borders between PR and marketing, by linking all channels."

Csaba Faix introduced Start-up in a new era of communication on the example of the Hungarian company Prezi, which offers fun and illustrative interface for making professional presentations with the possibility of zooming. The company is playing with the Marshall McLuhan's gaze "Medium is the message". They started six years ago, and today they have 45 million users. Their beginnings were not easy at all - it seemed absolutely impossible in the period after the financial crisis in 2008 to find an investor for a product with ambitions to attack Microsoft, even more from Hungary, which was marked by the crisis a lot. At the beginning mainly the narrow seven-member management team communicated the powerful idea, product and strategy on all occasions. When approaching people they combined traditional PR, content marketing and social networks (especially LinkedIn). Each employee was also a PR manager and carried on the message about the company. "Be a seismograph of time and you adapt your content to it. Platforms are changing, but PR stories and interesting content are still crucial!" A real breakthrough to success was then the fact that they gained the interest of TEDx as a medium of spreading interesting ideas, using Prezi in a new original graphic way. Very creative ideas helped, such as converting an annual speech of the Dutch king to Prezi, which has increased many times its viewership. Today Prezi manages several blogs where people share tips on how to make a good presentation, and where the best presentations are acknowledged and exposed. While Prezi is now considered a big successful company, its founders still think of themselves as a start-up: "The fundamental difference is not in size, but in the management of things in the company. In this regard, we are, and in my opinion also even Google is, still a start-up," said Csaba Faix.

The second block called The boundaries have been destroyed - PR on the threshold of a new era was started by Martin Ježek and Ivan Tučník from the Inspiro Solutions, with presentation of the Report on the status of bloggers and opinion leaders in the Czech Republic. They described the various roles of a brand advocate, blogger, opinion leader or a celebrity in "Social PR", and their frequent mutual change in time – brand advocates, who, based on their positive experience with the brand actively fight for it on social networks can become over time the bloggers. The blogosphere has also gradually changed in recent years, coming from the original total independence to commercial cooperation, which begins to be "a driver of blogging". Inspiro is currently cooperating with roughly a hundred bloggers, some of whom have up to 50 thousand fans on Facebook. The combination of strengths and the specifics of the blogosphere and social media creates the correct effect. Experience of Inspiro was demonstrated by a case study of an integrated approach while launching the phone Huawei P6.

Rostislav Starý of PR.Konektor and Peter Ungerman of Mondelez presented a case study from the viewpoint of a client and agency that dealt with the chocolates Milka: the campaign “Activate softness in a bad Guy". They have found a specific subculture regarded as the rough guys (bikers, punks, tattoo fans, hooligans). Through the campaign they teamed up with the non-commercial sector and presented the brand to them in a new light. The work with a combination of the old and new media (smartphones, social networking) was paid off: "PR has never been stronger, because today it is especially about the link of online and off-line communication, which is the front PR expertise." The boundaries between the disciplines were destroyed, the paid, owned and obtained media were linked together. Modern PR agency can win in this competition, because it offers the highest value – the effect in the field of obtained media.

Petr Topinka, the creator of the political campaign ANO talked about Breaking the boundaries of political marketing, and what caused the success of the politician Andrej Babiš, from which he got a most simple assignment: create a political brand and win the election. Before starting this process, together with his team he has analyzed the course of political marketing, and summed up the Basic 4 insights on what is usually done wrong in political marketing: everyone's talking about surveys and preferences, but just few take the effort to analyze what is behind the numbers; brands/political parties communicate most inconsistently; instead of a concept they communicate their special “spell" – the program that no one reads or does not understand; the campaign of the political parties is usually governed by the political Manager and not by the Communicator. Therefore the success of ANO strategy was based on: the definition of the brand and a clear plan of its communication (consistently and continuously); a new language and visual style, including the new forms (eg. an explanation of the program using infographics); linkage of media while respecting their individuality; centralization of planning and most importantly: no politicians included in the team! The core of ANO success was the definition and understanding of the DNA of this political brand, defined as: the competencies, transparency and change. Then it was just the matter of a clear communication, watch over the consistency of communication and no dodge out of the way. "The success of ANO was in less politics and more common sense!"

In the competitive contest Ric Pic, which was this time thematically associated with the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, it was Roman Maco, Director of Marketing and Communications at KPMG Czech Republic that has won. During 6 minutes and 40 seconds, he has presented a solution how to get a thousand hundred crowds to Wenceslas square. He has reached his conclusions based on the use of the imaginary website software, which allows a rapid analysis of creative solutions through a special algorithm. You can just add ideas into the model that is able to measure their potential in terms of motivation, emotion, rates of simplicity and togetherness. Within the theoretical concepts presented, the most attention was given to “The capital of Czech republic is Brno" and "the European ban on The Czech fat rolls".

The Workshop for the staff of the state administration and self-government called “How the State administration and self-government should communicate" was moderated by Jan Kučmáš, AMI Communications. He has devoted the discussion to setting up appropriate communication strategies and to pitfalls of tenders and to other topics that had supported the case studies.

PR Summit 2014 was concluded by the member of the Program Committee Michal Vlasák. His message was very optimistic. The borders have been destroyed and now we're trying to build the new communication world again – without any borders. The PR sector has a fundamental ability to connect the target groups and media, to integrate and embrace the discipline of communication as a whole. "It was the least querulous action of PR people I've ever been to," commented Vlasak, using the hyperbole to describe an overwhelming optimistic mood of the Conference, reflecting also the optimism in the sector as a whole.

Media and further information contact:
Aneta Zímová, PR Summit Program Committee 2014
Tel.: +420 730 184 505, e-mail:

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