PR – an unavoidable truth

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Pead PR account director Amelia Haysom attended the annual IPREX Global Leadership Conference, in London. She joined 30 young leaders from around the globe to discuss the theme Beyond Silos: Operating and managing in an integrated communication industry. Here’s her report … 

There’s an unavoidable truth in the PR world in 2015. Our industry is at a tipping point of huge change.

The media landscape is shifting by the day, and there is an urgency to respond to that. It’s time to look differently at how we practise and teach the art of communications and what it will mean to be a PR practitioner in future.

That’s my take out from the annual IPREX conference attended by emerging leaders from each member agency.

The focus this year was on breaking down the silos of the communications industry – ‘PR’, ‘Advertising’, ‘Social Media’, ‘Marketing’, ‘ Events’, ‘SEO’. With the advent of the internet, political changes, technology advancements and more, this segregation of individual fields is becoming outdated. Reputation and brand are intertwining; traditionally separate roles are converging.

There was much to learn, but for me there were two key points that resonated most strongly.

The first was a resounding comfort in realising that industry change is a completely global issue.  In discussion with delegates from all corners of the world I confirmed they’re facing the same challenges we are in New Zealand.  It gave clarity to the bigger picture – something that can be difficult to see when you’re in the thick of the day-to-day at the office.

The second key take out for me was an empowering presentation by Arun Sudhaman, partner and editor-in-chief at the Holmes Report. His piece focused on how to deal with these challenges and look at the simultaneous opportunities they’ll provide us if we can focus on tomorrow’s drivers of the industry.

We discussed the need to take a 360-degree approach – integrating a wide range of modern services, channels and techniques in pursuit of client results and agency success.

And it’s not just about adding a digital leg to your existing agency.  Everyone in the agency must understand digital, be able to operate in digital moving forward. There has been a visible tacking on of digital departments in agencies both locally and internationally during the past five to 10 years, implemented with varying degrees of success.

But that’s a quick fix that does not provide any long term solution.

This brings its own set of challenges, mainly being competition for client respect and budgets against a new set of rivals – further emphasising the requirement to redesign our agencies to be more efficient in response.

We also analysed traditional agency and university course structure alongside the future career path of the individual PR practitioner. The conclusion was the current models probably don’t provide enough flexibility to embrace and foster the new skills and services that we’ll need in order to stay relevant.

The IPREX GLC 2015 was an enriching experience that provided much food for thought. It instilled in me a confidence the PR industry globally remains in good heart, ready and willing to overcome the communications challenges it currently faces – so long as we take action.

About Pead PR

Pead PR is an independent brand building and corporate public relations consultancy based in Auckland. It operates in the key consumer categories of beauty, business, fashion, retail, lifestyle, food, technology and events & entertainment and corporate PR. Pead PR was founded in Auckland in 2001 by Deborah Pead and today employs more than 30 staff. It is a member of IPREX, providing New Zealand clients with global reach via 76 independent agencies with 127 offices in 32 countries. Pead PR is proud to have built some of NZ’s most noticed brands from the ground up. That’s why it has thrown its weight behind the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation which helps leading entrepreneurs grow through peer-to-peer learning, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and connections to experts.


IPREX is a $200 million network of independent communication agencies, with 1500 staff and more than 100 offices worldwide working across the spectrum of industry sectors and practice disciplines.

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